Last five Pinoy bets press on in Rio

(from left) Miguel Tabuena, Mary Joy Tabal, and Marestella Torres-Sunang  CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

(from left) Miguel Tabuena, Mary Joy Tabal, and Marestella Torres-Sunang

Swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi faltered in the women’s 100m freestyle event, leaving five more Filipino athletes vying for medals in the 2016 Olympic Games being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The 23-year-old Alkhaldi, owner of the Philippine record in 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, submitted 56.30 seconds to end up 33rd in the 46-tanker field at the Olympic Aquatics Center.

It was actually a notch higher than her 34th-place finish in the 2012 London Olympics.

“Overall it was okay. I’m happy with the results. I would have been happier if I swam faster but we got the time that we trained for. I did my best. We did everything that we can. I asked myself. ‘What more can I do to get faster?’ I feel we did everything,” said the University of Hawaii student.

Left to the carry the Philippine flag are golfer Miguel Tabuena, marathon queen Mary Joy Tabal, former Asian Championship long jump champion Marestella Torres-Sunang, Southeast Asian Games 400m hurdles gold medalist Eric Shauwn Cray, and Asian Games tae kwon do bronze medalist Kirstie Elaine Alora.

The reigning Philippine Open champion Tabuena will be seeing action in the men’s individual golf against world’s best beginning on Thursday (Friday in Manila).

Eric Shauwn Cray  AFP PHOTO

Eric Shauwn Cray

“I feel confident. I’m more confident now pulling out my driver,” said Tabuena, who brought his own caddy from Baguio, Clayton Besset, and swing coach Joel Altea.

Tabal will be competing on August 14 while Torres-Sunang and Cray gun for medals on August 16.

Alora will be the last to play on August 20 when she takes on 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medalist Maria Espinoza of Mexico in the first round of the women’s +67 kgs.

Alkhaldi wished the remaining Filipino athletes the best as they try to duplicate weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz’ feat.

“Good luck and enjoy the moment. Enjoy being one of the very few Filipinos competing in the Olympics,” said Alkhaldi.

Diaz bagged a silver medal in the women’s 53 kg. event – ending the country’s 20-year medal drought.

Kirstie Elaine Alora  PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN.

Kirstie Elaine Alora

The Zamboanga City native joined Simeon Toribio, Jose Villanueva, Teofilo Yldefonso, Miguel White, Anthony Villanueva, Leopoldo Serrantes, Roel Velasco and Mansueto Velasco in the elite list of Filipino Olympic medalists.

“Don’t quit. Keep up the fight, our remaining five athletes vowed to do just that,” said Chef-de-mission Jose Romasanta.

“We don’t want to put pressure on our remaining bets but another medal of any color will give the Philippines its best ever finish in the Olympics,” he said.

Already out in the competition are Swimming’s Jessie Khing Lacuna, table tennis’ Ian Lariba, weightlifting’s Nestor Colonia, judo’s Kodo Nakano, and boxing’s Charly Suarez and Rogen Ladon.


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