by Kristel Satumbaga
A mix of elite and rising stars makes up the cast of athletes being groomed for inclusion in the track and field squad that will compete in the 30th Southeast Asian Games (seag) that the country will host late this year.
Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA) chief Philip Juico feels that winning 13 gold medals in the SEAG that will run from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 is not wishful thinking as the National Open formally concludes in Ilagan, Isabela.
“I’m happy with what’s going on right now,” said Juico, adding that their goal is to match the 13 golds the Philippines won during the 1983 SEAG in Singapore.
This year’s National Open saw two records getting smashed courtesy of Fil-American Natalie Uy in women’s pole vault and Ann Katherine Quitoy in girls javelin throw.
Uy debuted at the Open with 4.12m to eclipse the 11-year-old mark of 4.11m by Deborah Samson while Quitoy heaved 44.71m to erase the 44.54m mark of Rosie Villarito in 1998.
While more records were broken in the previous years, Juico said it was not a cause for alarm as athletes have yet to peak.
EJ Obiena, for instance, failed to surpass his 5.61m national mark with a 5.36m performance, but it already exceeded the SEAG mark of 5.35m made by Porranot Purahong of Thailand at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur edition.
“We don’t expect them to go all out here because it’s still a long season,” said Juico, adding that they are eyeing to send athletes at the Singapore Open and the Asian Athletics Championships next.
Elite athletes are also seeking slots in the World Relays and the World Championships. #SEAGames2019