NAY PYI TAW: Veteran jumper Henry Dagmil claimed the country’s first gold medal in athletics competitions of the 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on Sunday at the Wunna Theikdi Football Stadium.
Dagmil registered 7.80 meters to reclaim the men’s long jump crown. He defeated two-time champion Supanara Sukhasvasti of Thailand (7.71m) while Pham Van Lam of Vietnam settled for bronze (7.53m).
Dagmil settled for silver in the 2011 edition in Indonesia and bronze in the 2009 Laos Games because of injury. He last won a gold medal in the 2007 Games in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
Arniel Ferrera added on silver in the men’s hammer throw (61.18m).
In weightlifting, Olympian Hidilyn Diaz earned a silver in the women’s 58-kilogram (kg) event. After submitting 224 kilos. Sukanya Srisurat of Thailand took the gold with a 225-kg output.
Meanwhile, a four-man rowing team paddles into action, looking to have a strong start that could lead to a better finish.
Bannered by veterans Benjie Tolentino and Nestor Cordova, the squad kicks off its campaign Monday at the Ngalike Dam here in a bid to surpass its solitary gold medal finish in the previous SEA Games in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
According to team manager Quintin Pastranas, the squad has the materials—and the experience—to achieve its goal after coming up with a decent finish in the Asia Cup in Hong Kong followed by a rigid training in Shanghai, China.
The squad will be competing in four of the nine rowing events with Cordova expected to pluck a gold medal in the men’s singles sculls as well as Tolentino and Edgar Ilas in the men’s doubles sculls.
“The most important thing is for us to have a strong performance early on,” Pastranas said. “We all have equal chances. It only depends on how we will start.”
Pastranas mentioned Thailand, Indonesia and, of course, Myanmar as heavy contenders.
“But all of them are capable of winning,” he said. “Almost all teams have foreign coaches so the level of competition is quite high. It’s only up to us on how we can cope up.”
Also included in the team are Alvin Amposta and Roque Abala, who will be joining Tolentino and Ilas in the men’s lightweight fours.