Sunang: No more Olympics
RIO DE JANEIRO—Marestella Torres-Sunang says her third failed attempt at landing in long jump’s Olympic finals means a fourth Summer Games in 2020 in Tokyo is out of the question now.
It’s a sign, she says, that she needs to help bring a new generation of Filipino long jumpers up to speed so she can gradually fade away from the competition.
There’s a hitch, though. To whom would she pass the torch?
“I’m actually looking for somebody to train,” said Sunang, a mother of a two-year-old boy and, at 35, the most senior among the 13 Filipino athletes who qualified to vie in the Rio Olympics.
“It’s my destiny and responsibility to train a successor. I don’t want my experience as a jumper, especially the things I learned in training for the Olympics, to go to waste.”
But because of the demands of her sport, she said she can’t train a successor while she’s still trying to shape up for competitions.
And not before she serves her country one last time in next year’s Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia.
“If I’m still healthy, my last event will be the SEA Games,” said Sunang. “No more Olympics, probably no more Asian Games as well.”
For 11 years since her golden performance in the 2005 Manila edition of the regional event, she has been the country’s premier—if not the only—female long jump internationalist.
In the long jump event of the last National Open Track and Field meet which Sunang topped, the next best Filipino after her and the Malaysian silver medalist posted jumps more than a meter shorter than her 6.72m national record.
Sunang leapt to 6.22 here in Rio on Tuesday night and missed the finals by 31 centimeters. She wound up 28th in a starting field of 38.