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Baguio training fuels strong performances in national trials

/ 05:15 AM December 19, 2021

John Albert Mantua, one of the 34 athletes and eight coaches who will descend from their two-month bubble training camp in Baguio City this weekend, has so much waiting for him.

For one, there is his pregnant fiancé Lovely Labay, who is expecting his arrival in Mindoro.

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Given the chance, however, the 29-year-old thrower would like more training hours in the cold, austere and high-altitude environment in the country’s summer capital.

“Here, we can concentrate and push hard on training,” said Mantua in Filipino, after bagging two gold medals in the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association National Trials held in Baguio recently.

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Mantua, a vital cog in Jose Rizal University’s five-feat squad under top mentor Jojo Posadas, said the training bubble allowed him to get back in competitive shape—he weighed 125 kilograms, almost 20kg over his competing weight, when he first entered the Baguio bubble.

“But whatever the decision of our bosses, it’s for the best. I just happen to love the weather here,” added Mantua, who improved his personal bests in winning the shot put and discus throw gold medals.

With barely two months training, Mantua hurled 16.26 meters in shot put from his previous best of 16.06. He also managed a throw of 17.45m, which is well within the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games medal level, but the attempt was discarded because he was called for an infraction.

Like most of the winners, the General Santos City native thrived in the National Trials in the absence of United States-based athletes like SEA Games record holder in shot put William Morrison III (18.38m).

“It’s really a good thing we were able to break in these athletes after 18 months of inactivity; at least now we have something to start with for the SEA Games,” said Posadas, a national coach.

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TAGS: Athletics, Baguio, John Albert Mantua
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