Asian Games: Kayla Sanchez places sixth, stays upbeat on medal chances
HANGZHOU, China—Kayla Sanchez checked in sixth in the women’s 50m backstroke finals on Monday in the 19th Asian Games at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Aquatic Sports Arena.
But the 22-year-old transferee from Canada isn’t losing hope, confident that she could grab a medal in the pool over the next couple of days after clocking 28.66 seconds in the event.
“I’m not going to give up. I’ll just keep on pushing forward. This is a good starting point, and for me it’s all about the flag,” said Sanchez, who spearheaded the country’s 4x100m freestyle relay’s national record-breaking feat the other night.
Chinese tankers Wang Xueer (27.35 seconds) and Wan Letian (27.41) finished 1-2 in the medal race while Japanese Miki Takahashi ranked third in 28.21.
Teia Salvino, who likewise qualified to the finals with Sanchez, reached the wall last among the eight swimmers in 28.79.
“I’m happy with my swim. Of course it’s not a medal, but I’m always pushing to do my best and I would have loved to bring home a medal in this event for the Philippines,” said Sanchez.
Up next for Sanchez, who helped the Canadian relay team claim a silver and bronze in the Tokyo Olympics, is the 100m free on Tuesday and the 50m free on Wednesday as well as the 4x100m medley relay. She’s also entered in the 100m back.
“I hope you believe in me because I’m having the best time being able to represent the Philippines and be a leader of this team,” said Sanchez, whose parents Noel and Susano hail from Mabalacat, Pampanga and Baguio City before migrating to Toronto, Canada.
Xiandi Chua also didn’t make it to the medal stands, touching the end line last in 2:16.18 in the women’s 200m individual medley won by China’s Yu Yiting, who posted a new Games record of 2:07.75.
But if there’s any consolation, Chua reset her national record twice on the same day.
She swam 2:16.43 during the morning qualifying heats, erasing her previous national mark of 2:17.02 she accomplished in the Cambodia Southeast Asian Games last May.