Stuart sets SEA Games record in hammer throw, bags PH’s 8th gold
SINGAPORE—Except for a few wrinkles, everything went smoothly for Caleb Stuart in winning the hammer throw event in record-smashing fashion.
The Filipino-American from Riverside, California delivered as promised as the Philippines captured its first track and field gold medal Tuesday in the 28th Southeast Asian Games at the National Stadium here.
Unleashing all his might, Stuart heaved 65.63 meters in his third throw, easily erasing the SEAG mark of Thailand’s Tantipong Phetchaiya (62.23m) registered in the previous Games held two years ago in Burma.
Phetchaiya found solace with his silver (62.12) and Malaysia’s Jackie Siew Wong, who competed in the Philippine track and field national open recently in Sta. Cruz, Laguna placed third (61.18).
“I’m happy, I did what I came here to do. I got the gold medal that I wanted,’’ said Stuart, a few meters short of his career best and the existing national record of 68.66.
Cheered on by his mom Rowena and some relatives, Stuart overcame a tentative start after he fouled in the first throw and missed the 60-meter line on the next.
“It wasn’t the nerves. I just made a bad step and fouled on a couple of centimeters,’’ said the 250-pound, 6-foot-2 varsity from the University of California-Riverside.
“On my second throw, I just want to get my rhythm and eventually made the adjustment.’’
After former hammer throw champion Arnel Ferrera, who placed fourth (60.08) gave him a big hug following his third throw, it was all about resetting his own national record.
“I fouled again on my fifth try because I got too excited. I could have thrown farther but I got too tight,’’ said Stuart, a rookie for the PH track and field team which is aiming to snatch at least eight of the 46 golds in the centerpiece event.
“I’m trying to break my national record,’’ he added.
“We’ll see,’’ said Stuart as he happily raced with Ferrera down the track with the Philippine flag.
As of posting, the Philippines has eight golds to go along with 12 silvers and 25 bronze medals. Mark Giongco/CFC