The Philippines rode on Angel Otom’s brilliance as it unleashed a nine-gold juggernaut on Wednesday, hiking its total to 27 gold medals in the 12th ASEAN Para Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Otom, 19, claimed her third and fourth gold medals at the Morodok Aquatics Center with a pair of stunning victories in the women’s 50m butterfly and freestyle S5 events, becoming the country’s first quadruple gold medalist.
The magnificent Olongapo lass made her effort more meaningful by setting a new Games record of 47.33 seconds in the 50m butterfly after shattering her 48.07 performance last year in Surakarta, Indonesia.
Breathing the same rare air as a four-gold winner like Otom was woodpusher Darry Bernardo, who outclassed the men’s standard B2B3 competition by copping the individual mint as well as the team event alongside Menandro Redor and Arman Subaste.
Bernardo’s earlier triumphs came in the rapid individual and team events on Sunday.
He could emerge as the most be-medalled Filipino athlete, if not the star of the entire Games itself, if he could add the individual and team blitz gold medals on Thursday at the Royal University.
Also striking gold were Evaristo Carbonel (discus throw F11) and Jerold Mangliwan (200m T52) at the Morodok Techo National Stadium, while tanker Ernie Gawilan chipped in a gold in the 200m individual medley SM7.
At press time, the Philippines remained in fifth place and had already amassed 27 golds, one shy of replicating its 28-gold haul from last year.
Gawilan also pocketed the silver medal in the 50m butterfly (34.72), finishing second to Singapore’s Wei Soong Toh (30.78). Vietnam’s Nguyen Hoang Nha (34.84) took third place.
Double-gold medalist Gary Bejino placed second in the men’s 50m butterfly S6 event, which was won by Thailand’s Aekkarin Noithat (34.48). Boonyarit Payungsakul, also from Thailand, finished third (39.02).
Meanwhile, Jesebel Tordecilla secured the silver medal in the women’s javelin throw F55 with an effort of 13.62 meters.
Vietnam’s Ngo Thi Lan won the gold medal (14.27m), while Myanmar’s Htet Htet Aye claimed the bronze medal (11.68m).
Andrei Kuizon registered 19.03 meters in the men’s javelin throw F34-54, finishing second behind Vietnam’s Vovan Tung (21.33m). Malaysia’s Taufik Nasirdin (13.19m) took third place.
Athletics also delivered three bronze medals, courtesy of Cendy Asusano, Jerome Fernandez, and Arman Dino.
Asusano, another double-gold winner, finished third in the women’s discus throw F54 with an effort of 13.46m.
Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Ngoc Thuy won the event with a throw of 14.43m, while her compatriot Tran Thi Tu finished third (13.84m).
Fernandez (24.43) ranked third in the men’s 200m T46 behind Indonesia’s Figo Saputra (23.39) and Firza Listianto (24.00).
Dino clocked 23.55 seconds, settling for third place in the men’s 200m T47 event.
Nur Ferry Pradana of Indonesia won in 22.36 while his compatriot, Rizal Bagus Saktyono, was second in 22.78.
In the men’s javelin throw F55, Joel Balatucan finished fourth (22.05m) behind Kieu Minh Trung of Vietnam (27.00m), Riadi Saputra of Indonesia (25.69m) and Shar Haji Juma’at of Brunei (22.16m).