Down to 5 as archer Javier falls
LONDON—Archer Mark Javier tried his darndest best to pull off a surprise but was simply no match to a steely-nerved American deadshot and bowed out of the 30th London Olympics here Wednesday, his hopes of making amends for his woeful debut in Beijing 2008 in tatters.
On a calm, nippy London afternoon, the 31-year-old repeat Olympian from Dumaguete City yielded to Pan American Games champion Ellison Brady, 1-7, on set scores of 27-29, 25-28, 25-25 and 22-29, at Lord’s Cricket Grounds.
Javier thus became the sixth of the 11 Filipino athletes here to be eliminated from the Games after swimmer Jessie Khing Lacuna, lifter Hidilyn Diaz, skeet shooter Brian Rosario, fellow archer Rachelle Anne Cabral and swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi, in that order.
Alkhaldi earlier Wednesday bombed out of the women’s 100-meter freestyle event, ending up fifth in the third of seven heats won by Hungary’s Eszther Dara.
The half-Filipino half-Saudi Arabian tanker timed 57.13 seconds and missed her personal best by just two-hundredths of a second. She touched home half a body length behind her Southeast Asian Games rival, Mylene Ong of Singapore (56.33) in the same heat.
Only light flyweight boxer Mark Anthony Barriga, who famously hurdled his first-round opponent, Manuel Cappai of Italy, on Tuesday, Filipino-Japanese judoka Tomohiko Hoshina, BMX rider Daniel Caluag, long jumper Marestella Torres and 5,000-meter specialist Rene Herrera remain in the Games.
The diminutive Barriga, counterpunching effectively and scoring with left straights, bundled out Cappai, 17-7, and set up a second-round clash with Kazakhstan’s Birzhan Zakhypov this Friday.
Incidentally, the 5-foot-6 Kazakh’s highly disputed 18-17 win over France’s Jeremy Beccu Tuesday became one of the basis for a complaint lodged by several national boxing teams here Wednesday over what they claimed was biased officiating.
Torres, also a two-time Olympian like Javier and Diaz, sees action in the qualifying round of the women’s long jump on Tuesday night at the main Olympic stadium here with teammate Herrera vying for a berth in the 16-runner semifinal of the men’s 5,000m four nights later, on the eve of the Games closing ceremonies.
Hoshina, the 278-pound school teacher in Fuji City whose mother is from Malolos, Bulacan, sets out as the underdog against South Korea’s world championship quarterfinalist Kim Sung-min in their first-round clash Thursday in judo’s plus-100 kg division.
The Filipino-American Caluag shoots for one of four berths in his eight-man heat in the BMX (bicycle motocross) event on Aug. 8, his credentials as a four-time No. 1 pro rider in the United States preceding him.
Tuesday was Javier’s and Alkhaldi’s turn to disappoint.
Keen on improving on his form in Beijing 2008, Javier battled the 23-year-old Brady neck and neck in a stirring first set which he lost on two bullseye by his foe, 27-29. Two more 10s by Brady in a 28-25 second set gave the American 2 more set points for 4-0.
Javier finally nailed a 10 in the last of three arrows to square the third set, 25-25—and 1 set point each—and extend the match to a fourth set which Brady easily took, 29-22 on the strength of two more 10s.
“(Brady) showed how good he really is. I really focused on my shots but I just couldn’t stop him from making those 10s,” said Javier, who was embraced and given comforting words by the American at the end of the match.
“He said I could still improve a lot and that I made him work hard to really go for the 10s.”
Alkhaldi’s coach Pinky Brosas said the strength of the field was “tremendous” but he was satisfied with his Hawaii-based ward’s performance in which she wound up 35th in the field of 48 in perhaps swimming’s most-anticipated event.
“It’s a good swim but she missed her personal best by .02 seconds,” said Brosas. “That’s a tremendous field, you have all the event’s superstars there.”
“The depth of the field is too much for our athletes,” said chief of mission Manny Lopez, also vice president of the Philippine Olympic Committee. “But there’s nothing to be ashamed off. They did their best.”