Veteran trackster Erlinda Lavandia will be the first to see action in the 19th Asian Masters Athletics Championships beginning today at the National Stadium in Kallang, Singapore.
Lavandia will be defending her crown in the women’s javelin throw 60-64 category at 10:30 a.m. against 13 other competitors including those from powerhouse China, Japan, Australia, India and Thailand.
In the 18th edition held in Japan two years ago, Lavandia also pocketed silver medals in shot put and discus throw, and a bronze in hammer throw.
Joining her in the tournament are four-time Southeast Asian Games champion Marestella Torres, Lerma Bulauitan-Gabito, Eduardo Buenavista, Reynato Unso, Emerson Obiena, Arniel Ferrera and Rene Herrera.
Torres takes part in women’s long jump (35-39) while Bulauitan-Gabito competes in women’s 100m dash and long jump (40-44); Buenavista in men’s 1,500m run, 5,000m run and 10,000m run (35-39); Unso in men’s 400m hurdles (55-59); Obiena in men’s pole vault and 100m hurdles (50-54); Ferrera in men’s hammer throw, discus throw and shot put (35-39); and Herrera in men’s 1,500m run, 5,000m run and 3,000m steeplechase (35-39).
The other members of the delegation are Joebert Delicano, Julius Nierras, Sean Guevarra, Julius Sermona, John Lozada, Danilo Fresnido, Edward Obiena, Fidel Gallanero, Christabel Martes, Mary Grace Milgar, Jeanette Obiena, Edward Kho, Jose Ang, Arnel Lobos, Margarito Baniqued and Mario Castro.
India has the most number of entries with more than 200 followed by host Singapore with 175 athletes, Sri Lanka with 150, Malaysia with 115 and Taiwan with 104.
Also competing in the Asian meet are Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Iran, Qatar, Nepal, South Korea, Australia, US, Mongolia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Pakistan, Russia and Uzbekistan.
EMIL C. NOGUERA