Philippine athletics is off to a good start with Archand Christian Bagsit and Henry Dagmil scoring gold medal wins in the first day of action in athletics at the 27th Southeast Asian Games in Wunna Theikdi Stadium, Naypyitaw, Myanmar.
Bagsit stormed his way to a gold medal finish in the men’s 400m finals with a time of 47.219, successfully converting his silver medal win in 2011 SEA Games to gold.
Teammate Edgardo Alejan Jr. made it a 1-2 finish for the Philippines as he placed second to Bagsit with a time of 47.448, while Idonesia’s Edy Ariansyah taking the gold, 47.778.
The 2005 and 2007 long jump SEA Games Champion, Henry Dagmil, surprised his younger opponents with his 7.80 meter leap to take the gold again this year, his third SEA Games gold.
Thailand’s Supanara Sukhasvasti Na Ayudhaya, the winner in 2009 and 2011, was relegated to silver after registering a 7.71 meter leap. Bagsit was second to Na Ayudhaya in the 2011 edition.
Van Lam Phan of Vietnam won the the bronze (7.73), while other Filipino entry in the long jump event, Benigno Marayag, failed to register a podium finish after finishing only 4th with a leap of 7.38
Hammer thrower Arniel Ferrera, the favorite to win the event this year, again settled for silver with a throw of 61.18, while Tantipon Petchaiya of Thailand, who was beaten by Ferrera at the Thailand Open this year, successfully defended his title with a new game record throw of 62.23.
Malaysia’s Jackie Wng Siew Cheer Jackie took the bronze with a throw of 59.75.
Filipina pole vaulter Rizel Buenaventora finally delivered a podium finish, winning the bronze medal of the women’s pole vault event with a leap of 3.80m. Buenaventora placed only 4th in the 2011 SEA Games, but with a much better leap of 3.90m, her personal best.
Asian bronze medalist, Sukanya Chomchuendee of Thailand, won the gold with a new game record leap of 4.21m. Thi Phuong of Vietnam took the silver with 4.10m leap.
Heptathlete Narcisa Atienza, the silver medalist last SEA Games, is on her way to another podium finish this year. She placed first in the shot-put, second in both 100m hurdles and high jump, but was third only in the 200m dash. She will see action again tomorrow in the javelin throw and 800m run to complete all 7 games in heptathlon.
Leading the women’s heptathlon is the defending champion from Tahiland, Wassana Winatho, who won all other three events.
In the first day of athletics action, the Philippine team has already collected 2 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medals.
Target this year is about 5 to 7 gold medals, quite high, yet looks achievable, compared to the 2 gold, 9 silver and 5 bronze medal they brought home last 2011 SEA Games.