Female cyclist averts PH gold shutout
SINGAPORE—Thanks to rookie cyclist Marella Vania Salamat, Team Philippines averted a gold medal shutout Thursday in the 28th Southeast Asian Games here.
The 21-year-old Salamat topped the women’s 30-kilometer individual time trial in 44 minutes and 46.38 seconds for the Philippines’ lone shining moment after a glorious 9-gold haul Wednesday.
As their medal production ground to a halt, the Filipinos slid to sixth place overall with 22 golds, trailing the Indonesians with 29.
The host nation continued its amazing run with 64 golds, holding at bay resurgent Vietnam (56), traditional powerhouse Thailand (55) and consistent Malaysia (31).
Salamat, a University of the East dentistry student from Las Piñas, bested Thailand’s Chanpeng Nontasin (45:32.34) and Singapore’s Dinah Chan, the defending champion who settled for third (47:44.91).
“I guess it was the hard work that I had put in through the months,” said Salamat, who took the cudgels for the men’s side in her first international stint overseas.
Cramps-stricken Ronald Oranza salvaged a bronze in the men’s ITT that was contested in a 40-kilometer circuit while reigning titlist and three-time Tour champion Mark Galedo tumbled to sixth place.
The Philippines’ tally finally moved late in the afternoon as Mervin Guarte chalked up a silver in men’s 1,500-meter run, clocking 3 minutes and 48.06 seconds to finish behind Vietnam’s Duong Van Thai (3:47.04).
The Philippine men’s 4X400m relay team also settled for a silver behind Thailand in a race decided by photo-finish.
Patrick Unso took a bronze in men’s 110m hurdles, clocking 14.12 seconds behind Thai winner Jamras Rittidat, who timed 13.69 to shatter his own meet record of 13.72 set in 2013. Malaysia’s Rayzam Sofian was second with 13.97 seconds.
Caleb Stuart, the hammer throw record-breaking champion, placed fourth in discus throw.
The Philippines picked up another bronze courtesy of the women’s trios in bowling held at Orchid Country Club.
Marie Alexis Sy, Lara Posadas and Maria Arles, PH’s team B, pooled 3608 pinfalls to crowd Singaporean teams A and B which finished with 3963 and 3707, respectively.
Later in evening at OCBC Aquatics Center, Joshua Hall and Jhessie King Lacuna scored silver medals each in the men’s 50-meter breaststroke and 400m freestyle, respectively, at the end of the swimming competitions.
With a time of 28.32 seconds, Hall finished behind Indonesian Indra Gunawan who took the gold in 28.27 seconds.
Lacuna battled Malaysia’s Welson Wee until the final 50 meters when the Malaysian struck hardest to finish in 3:53.97, winning the gold and setting a new SEA Games record. Lacuna clocked 3:55.34.
Jasmine Al-Khaldi picked up a bronze in women’s 50m freestyle, clocking 25.79 seconds.
The country can still hope for more medals as taekwondo commences today with eight gold medals at stake, including five in poomsae and two in combat or gyeorugi. The sport gave the country four golds last year.
The Philippines will bank on its poomsae team that won two bronzes in the Worlds in Mexico last year. However, the number of sports in combat has been reduced from eight to just three, limiting the country’s chances.
Though the projection of 50 golds appears remote now, the country tightened its grip of sixth spot, 11 golds ahead of Burma before sundown Thursday.
In volleyball, the highly fancied Philippine women’s team finally found its groove by beating Malaysia, 25-15, 25-18, 25-16, at the OCBC Arena Hall 2.
Unlike in their previous outing where their nerves got the better of them in losing to Indonesia, (25-22, 25-20, 25-14), this time the Nationals were in their element as they improved their chances of making the semifinals.
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