NANJING, China: Gabriel Luis Moreno pulled off one of the biggest surprises in the second Youth Olympic Games here by winning a gold medal in archery for the Philippines on Sunday.
Moreno, who was ranked 30th among 32 male archers here, teamed up with China’s Li Jiaman, ranked No. 3 in the women’s side, to win the gold in the mixed team event.
Moreno, the flag-bearer of the Philippine delegation to the event, said he did not expect to win anything in this gathering of over 3,000 athletes from 202 Olympic nations.
“I just gave my best,” said the grandson of popular actor and TV host German “Kuya Germs” Moreno..
Moreno almost missed the quarterfinals after he left the Fangshan Archery Field with his family to have lunch after the morning session.
When they arrived at the venue around 2:30 p.m., it was almost time for him to shoot.
“I was already crying inside the cab and my dad was panicking. Everybody had warmed up. So I just concentrated,” Moreno said.
It is the first gold medal for the Philippines in the Youth Olympics, where athletes aged 14 to 18 years compete. The inaugural staging was held in 2010 in Singapore.
“This is a big win for us coming from a Third World country,” Moreno said.
In the finals, Moreno and Jiaman defeated Muhammad Zoklepeli of Malaysia and Cynthia Freywald of Germany, 6-0 (38-37, 37-35, 37-33).
Moreno clinched the victory with a nine on his last arrow. In the finals, he had 10s in the first and second sets. Jiaman had a 10 in each of the three sets.
In the semifinals against Canada’s Eric Peters and Finland’s Mirjam Tuokkola, the 16-year-old Filipino had three straight 10s.
In gymnastics, Ava Lorein Verdeflor wrapped up her Youth Olympics experience with a smooth routine in the finals of the uneven bars on Saturday evening at the Nanjing Olympic Center Gymnasium.
Verdeflor, working hard under a Russian coach, earned 12.333 points to finish sixth among eight finalists.
Russian Seda Tutkhalyan won the gold with 13.575, while Italian Iosra Abdelaziz took the silver with 13.366. Chinese favorite Yan Wang settled for the bronze with 13.066.
The lone track and field bet for the Philippines, Zion Rose Nelson, finished fourth in the B Finals of the 400 meters. She clocked a personal best of 55.32 seconds.
Nelson is 16-year-old student from Canada who came to Nanjing with his father and coach Steven Nelson.
Ukraine’s Yana Kachir topped the B Finals race in 54.48 followed by Jamaica’s Tiffany James (54.54) and Venezuela’s Maria Simancas (54.92).
The gold in the A Finals of the 400 meters went to Australia’s Jessica Thornton who clocked 52.50.
First to bow out for Team Philippines was triathlete Vicky Deldio followed by swimmer Roxanne Yu, shooter Celdon Jude Arellano, archer Bianca Gotuaco, Nelson and Verdeflor.