Golden Boy Gab Moreno relishes victory | Inquirer Sports

Golden Boy Gab Moreno relishes victory

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 01:56 AM August 26, 2014

THE PHILIPPINES’ Luis Gabriel Moreno and China’s Li Jiaman (above) are flanked by the runner-up pairs during the awarding ceremony for the mixed international team archery competition in Nanjing. At right, Li and Moreno face reporters. June Navarro

NANJING—Still in his teens, archer Luis Gabriel Moreno has already etched his name in the annals of Philippine sports after seizing the first official Olympic gold medal for the country at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games here.

“You don’t have to be tall or short and you don’t have to have long arms or short limbs,” said the 16-year-old, 5-foot-10 Moreno. “As long as you have the will and determination, you can do anything.”


He displayed these traits in an effective pairing with China’s Li Jiaman in the finals of the mixed international team archery event Sunday at Fangshan Archery Field.


“Of course, I’m very lucky to have paired with her (Li) and I’m very thankful,” said the high school senior from La Salle Green Hills.

It was actually a perfect combination with Li getting the support of the hometown crowd and Moreno shooting the arrows that helped down Germany’s Cynthia Freywald and Malaysia’s Muhamad Zarif Syahir Zolkepeli in the gold-medal match.

Moreno, son of archery chief Fred Moreno of the Philippine Archers’ National Network and Alliance Inc., scored a pair of 10s and four 9s in a 6-0 victory (38-37, 38-35, 37-33) that no one really expected.

“She (Li) did everything to encourage me and I think I needed that,” said the young Moreno. “And yes, the support of the crowd lifted our spirits.”

Except for shooting a seven in his first arrow during the quarterfinals against Japan’s Hiroki Muto and Sughrakhanim Mugabilzada of Azerbaijan, Moreno was in the zone all the way to the finals. He even failed to warm up before the match after his father took him to lunch outside the competition venue.

They arrived seven minutes before the faceoff with Muto and Mugabilzada began.


“I knew everybody had warmed up and I knew I had to catch up. I just concentrated and did my best,” said Moreno, No. 30 out of 32 in the men’s individual recurve rankings.

Although Li ranked No. 3 in the women’s recurve, she and Moreno got a lower-seeding of 24th in the mixed event.

“We had high hopes in archery. Overall, all our athletes here in this Olympics made our country proud,” said Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr.

Moreno said communicating with Li was never a problem even though Li could only speak a little English.

For his record-setting feat, Moreno hopes to become a symbol of inspiration to his countrymen, adding he wishes that many Filipinos will qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

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Delivering the gold in the Rio Summer Games will be his next target.

TAGS: 2014 Youth Olympic Games, Luis Gabriel Moreno, Youth Olympic Games

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