3 more track athletes get elite US training
MANILA, Philippines — Decathlete Jesson Ramil Cid, steeplechaser Christopher Ulboc Jr. and long jumper Katherine Kay Santos have found a generous “godfather” for their respective bids to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
American athletics coach James Michael Lafferty will provide extensive training for the three athletes over the next two years with the government not spending a single centavo for them.
Lafferty, also CEO of British American Tobaco, the makers of Lucky Strike cigarettes, earlier took long jump queen Marestella Torres into his training program and provided her with a team of strength and conditioning coaches, sports psychologists, doctor, yoga/flexibility coaches and a dietician, among others.
Cid, Ulboc and Santos will enjoy the same treatment in Lafferty’s program, according to Go Teng Kok, president of the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association.
The four Filipinos will be trained by world-renowned coaches, fed properly and housed in a controlled environment to maximize their potentials.
“The goal is to produce more medals in the Asian Games and more Filipino track and field qualifiers in the Olympics,” said Go.
Cid and Ulboc won the SEA Games gold in their respective events, Torres is a two-time Olympian who holds the SEA Games record in women’s jump, while Santos has consistently improved on her personal best as a Torres understudy.
Pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena was recently adopted by the International Association of Athletics Federation which will put him under the training program of IAAF vice president and six-time world champion Sergey Bubka.
The son of Filipino pole vault great Emerson Obiena left for Formia, Italy, last Saturday.