Heroes rise as athletics fuels Philippine gold drive
KUALA LUMPUR— Athletics continues to lead the way or Team Philippines in the 29th Southeast Asian Games here, with four gold medals already in the bag.
One of those golds came from someone who would be comfortable being labeled either a jock or a nerd.
Trenten Anthony Beram, who ruled the 200-meter sprint late Wednesday night, is a math major at University of Connecticut back in the United States.
But Beram’s academics temporarily took a back seat to athletics as he helped save the day for Team Philippines, which was headed to a gold-less outing late Wednesday until Beram and decathlete Aries Toledo reeled in a victory each.
“I knew that I was coming in as a rookie; nobody knows me so it is good to put my name out there,” said Beram.
“I though top three (in the men’s 200) would be good so winning the gold is a bonus,” added Beram, who crossed the finish in 20.96 seconds.
While most athletes based abroad are recruited, Beram is a certified “walk-in.”
He reached out to the Philippine Track and Field Association wanting to join its weekly relays.
“He went straight to us and inquired how to go about playing for Philippine team,” said athletics official Edward Kho.
Born to a Filipino mother from Cebu City, Beram worked to obtain dual citizenship to be able to represent the Philippines here.
Beram shocked the field with a gold medal performance in the 200m dash. He was to see action in 400m and relays in the coming days.
“The hard work paid off,” said Beram. “This is only the beginning.”
Toledo also proved himself a hero at Bukit Jalil National Stadium, gritting through pain to emerge victorious.
“I did everything I needed to do even if I was hurting all over—my back, my arms (during the javelin throw) and my whole body,” said Toledo in Filipino. “I told God to help me because I wanted to come through for the Philippines.”
The 24-year-old Toledo, who hails from Nueva Ecija, finished with 7,433 points to snare the gold.
Also winning gold for athletics were Mary Joy Tabal, who captured the country’s first victory when she ruled women’s marathon, and Eric Cray, in 400m hurdles.
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