Olympic swimmers Jasmine Alkhaldi settled for a third place in today’s re-swim of the women’s 100m freestyle event in the 27th Southeast Asian Games swimming competition in Wunna Theikdi Swimming Pool, Naypyitaw, Myanmar.
In what’s suppose to be a gold medal yesterday, Alkhaldi had to give up her medal and re-race the 100m freestyle event after SEA Games officials favored Thailand’s protest on the false start buzz at the start of yesterday’s race.
Scheduled as the first event in the evening finals, all eyes were on Alkhaldi who showed-up in the re-swim as true and dignified sportsman.
Alkhaldi started well just like yesterday, still trailing Singapore’s Ting Wen Qua on her left, but this time ahead of Amanda Lim on her right.
Unlike yesterday, Thailand’s Natthanan Junkrajang and Jenjira Srisaard in lane 2 and 3 also came really strong, with Nathanan leading all four swimmers in the middle of the race by a couple of millisecond, with Alkhaldi in a very close 4th position.
Again, Alkhaldi propelled her way in the last 20 meters of the race, but her effort was only enough to finish third to Nathanan who won the gold and Ting Wen Quah who took the silver.
Alkhaldi clocked 56.63 seconds to win the bronze medal (her first SEA Games medal); 0.02 seconds faster that her gold medal swim yesterday, but slower that her personal best of 56.37 she clocked in this year’s world championship in August, which is the current Philippine national record.
Nathanan won the race with a gold medal time of 56.23, while Ting Wen Quah who still finished second in this event clocked 56.54
Alkhaldi looked not so happy in the awarding ceremony, compared to yesterday’s awarding ceremony where she was all smile.
After the swimming event this evening, Alkhaldi dedicated her swim to God, and thanked all the people who supported her in such tragic event.
In her Facebook status, she wrote : “I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I am so thankful and blessed to be able to get my first ever SEA Games medal tonight, though there were a lot of challenges that came my way- the Filipino spirit does not give up (hehe). I dedicate my swim to God, without Him I wouldn’t have even come this far and I couldn’t be more proud on how I handled the situation,” wrote Alkhaldi.
“Some things are just worth better than gold, I did my best and I’m pretty sure that I left my mark. It’s not about winning the race; it’s about how you finish it. I would like to THANK everyone that sent me messages and cheered me on. Knowing that I had the whole country behind my back is such a blessing and made me feel a million times better, salamat sa suporta na ibinigay niyo sa mga atletang pinoy! Thanks for the looooove!!!”, Alkhaldi added.
As of press time, Philippine Swimming Incorporated has already filed a protest to the Federation Internationale De Natation (FINA), the world governing body of Aquatics. The protest though will actually take months until decision is made.
Apart from Alkaldi’s win in today’s swimming finals, Fil-foreign swimmer Joshua Hall also delivered a bronze medal in the men’s 100m breaststroke event with a time of 1:03.32. Come-backing swimmer Radomyos Matjiur of Thailand won the gold with a time of 1:03.06, while Indra Gunawan of Indonesia took the silver by clocking 1:03.18.
Matt Navatta and Jessie Khing Lacuna failed to medal in their respective events today, with Navatta almost winning the bronze in the 200m individual medley event where he placed 4th with a time of 2:05.44.
Olympian Jessie Lacuna placed 5th in the 100m freestyle event with a time of 51.52. This is his first time to enter in this event in SEA Games.
Swimming tomorrow are Jessie Khing Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi in the 100m butterfly events.
In the morning heats which starts at 9:00am (10:30am Manila time) Lacuna swims in lane 3 of heat 1 with a seed time of 55.92; while Alkhaldi swims in lane 5 of heat 1 with a seed time of 1:01.71.
Top 8 swimmers in the morning heats advance to the evening finals which starts at 6:00pm (7:30pm Manila time).