Southeast Asian Games champion Marestella Torres wavered in a cold evening made colder by the light drizzle and fouled in her three attempts, bowing out of the women’s long jump event of the Asian Games track and field competitions last night.
Torres was flagged off on three straight fouls and was disqualified from the eight-member finals of the day, denying the Philippines a stab at the gold in the final days of the 17th Asian Games.
It was a tragic moment reminiscent of her below-personal best performance in the London Olympics in the autumn of 2012 when she hardly had time to warm up well enough before and during intervals of the competition as athletes waited for their turn on the ramp.
“It wasn’t her day,” said James Lafferty, her nutrition consultant who also provides financial backing to her training regimen under the “adopt an athlete” program since Philip Ella Juico took over the reins of the association this year.
The winning jump of 6.55 by Londona Maria Natalia on her sixth and last attempt was below Torres’ personal best of 6.71. It could have been the very first gold of the Philippines as Vietnam’s Bui Thi Thu Theo, a bronze medalist in the SEA Games was the silver medal in the Asiad this time with a jump of 6.44 on her second try.
The bronze went to China’s Jang Yanfei with a jump of 6.34 also on her second attempt.
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The Filipina two-time SEA Games gold medalist, who got the last ticket to the Games by winning the the gold in the 76th Singapore Open track and field championships last August, had barely a month to prepare for the Asian Games with the help of Lafferty.
It was also a repeat of her tragic Asian Games stint where she was also a cinch to win the gold with her personal best of 6.71 she achieved in her training in Germany before the Asiad.
Her inadequate training at the ULTRA where the ramp was uneven, caused some imbalance on her approach and affected her actual run in the Games. She did not win a medal in the event won by a Chinese with a mark far below her personal best.
“She was confident when I talked to her yesterday,” said Juico, who went personally to the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium to watch the Filipinos’ events for the day.
In the other final event of the day, debuting Christopher Ulboc finished ninth and last int he 1,500 meter steeplechase in 9 minutes, 21.63 seconds behind gold medal winner Kamal Abunakar Ali of Qatar (8:26.72), Taher Tareq Mubarak Salem of Bahrain (8:39.62) and Kumar Naveen of India (8:40.39).
At the end of the day, Team Philippines missed the gold for the 10th straight day, its only medals coming from the two silvers and one bronze of wushu and a bronze from archery.
While China scooped all the medals in sight – winning 112-72-64 gold-silver-bronze medals – Korea and Japan were far behind, their combined 44-50-52 and 35-47-50 not even enough to get closer to the Chinese output.
Thailand, despite disappointments in boxing, was the best-placed Southeast Asian nation at ninth with 2-0-4, Malaysia at 14th with 3-9-9, Indonesia 16th with 3-4-7, Myanmar 17th with 2-1-0, Vietnam 18th with 1-9-20 and Singapore 19th with 1-4-7.
Source : Gerry Carpio | Philstar.com