The Philippine athletics team may not have matched its five-gold medal haul in Vietnam last year, but it still had a successful campaign with four golds and two Southeast Asian Games records shattered, according to national team coach Jojo Posadas.
Led by the record-smashing campaigns of Ernest John Obiena in pole vault and Janry Ubas in long jump, the Philippines finished with a gold-silver-bronze harvest of 4-10-8 in Cambodia, one gold less but one silver medal better than in Hanoi.
“It is still a successful campaign for the Philippines in terms of quality; we have broken two games records here,” said Posadas during the last day of athletic competitions at the Morodok Tech National Stadium.
Obiena surpassed his own pole vault mark of 5.46 meters with a new games’ record of 5.65 in a wet and wild showcase at the rain-drenched stadium.
Ubas, on the other hand, secured the long jump gold, his first-ever in the games since debuting for the national team in the 2015 Singapore edition, with a jump of 7.85.
He crushed the games’ record with an 8.08, which he achieved in the decathlon, where he also finished as the silver medalist.
Meanwhile, Eric Cray solidified his status as the games’ greatest male track athlete with a sixth straight gold in the 200 meters hurdles, clocking in at 50.03. The 4×400 team of Michael del Prado, Frederick Ramirez, Joyme Sequita, and Umajesty Williams clinched athletics’ final gold with a time of 3:07.22.
“You also have to look at the SEA Games in terms of the future. I think we have one in javelin,” said Posadas, referring to silver medalist Gennah Malapit. “She’s the future.”
“Time will come, when she is given a good break, exposed to a high-level training program, she will surely be motivated,” added Posadas about the 16-year-old Palarong Pambansa standout, who improved her own Palaro mark from 45.5 to 49.55.
Other silver medalists in athletics were Arlan Arbois (Marathon), Sarah Dequinan (Heptathlon), Sonny Wagdos (5000m), Joida Gagnao (3000m SC), Williams (400m), Ronne Malipay (Triple Jump), Robyn Brown (400m Hurdles), and the 4x400m Women’s team consisting of Maureen Schrijvers, Jessel Lumapas, Bernalyn Bejoy, and Brown. Bronze medalists were Christine Hallasgo (Marathon), Aries Toledo (Decathlon), Evalyn Palabrica (Javelin Throw), Ramirez (400m), Natalie Uy (PV), Harry Diones (Triple Jump), John Tolentino (110m Hurdles), and the 4x400m Mixed team of del Prado, Lumapas, Williams, and Bejoy.