• Paddler adds another gold to PH medal haul

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    Veteran paddler Nestor Cordova copped a gold medal in the men’s M1 single sculls of the 2013 Southeast Asian Games rowing competitions on Monday at the Ngalike Dam in Naypyitaw, Myanmar.

    Cordova submitted the fastest time of seven minutes and 49.38 seconds to rule the event against silver medalist Aung Ko Min of Myanmar (7:49.68) and bronze winner Memo Memo of Indonesia (8:03.61).

    “I was trailing at the start of the race but I was able to catch up. Stick to the plan, every marker (every 500 meters), I need to power up,” said Cordova, a Navyman from Bacolod City.

    Seasoned rowers Benjamin Tolentino Jr. and Edgar Ilas chipped in one silver in the men’s LM2 double sculls as they checked in at 7:08.86. Indonesians Muhad Yakin and Ihram Ihram took the gold (7:07.42) while Thais Porntawat Inlee and Saija Jeam-hern bagged the bronze (7:31.33).

    In athletics, Eric Panique placed third in the men’s marathon with a time of 2:30:30, behind gold meda-list Ying Ren Mok of Singapore (2:28:36) and silver medalist Thaung Aye of Myanmar (2:29:50).

    In archery, Earl Benjamin Yap finished with a bronze medal in the men’s compound individual event.

    In swimming, Olympian Jasmine Alkhaldi, Jessie Khing Lacuna and Filipino-American Matt Navata advanced to the finals of their respective events.

    Alkhaldi had 26.22 seconds in the women’s 50-meter freestyle, surpassing the old national record of 26.30 she registered in the 2013 Speedo Championships early this year.

    Lacuna had a qualifying time of 1:58.02, good enough to reach the eight-man men’s 200m freestyle finals. Lacuna is looking to surpass his silver-medal finish in that event in the 2011 edition in Palembang, Indonesia.

    Navata, for his part, will be gunning for gold in the men’s 200m butterfly after clocking 2:06.90 in the qualifying round.

    The finals were scheduled on Monday night.

    Overall, the Philippines has 12 gold medals. Wushu and boxing delivered three each while athletics has so far produced two mints. The other golds were from cycling (1), karatedo (1), men’s basketball (1) and rowing (1).

    Meanwhile, The Philippines said on Monday that it had protested a decision by officials at the SEA Games in Myanmar to strip a Filipina swimmer of her gold medal, the latest controversy surrounding the games.

    The move comes after the Philippines questioned the huge number of obscure sports at the Myanmar games which seem designed to ensure that the host countries and its allies reap the most medals.

    The Philippine Olympic Committee in a statement said it had sent a letter asking that Alkhaldi be given back her gold.

    Alkhaldi, 20, won the 100 meter freestyle on Thursday, but it was quickly taken back after Thailand protested, saying there had been a “false start.”

    A re-swim was then ordered the following day, in which Alkhaldi came in third behind athletes from Thailand and Singapore, respectively.

    A member of the Philippines’ SEAGames task force said the “re-swim” had put the Filipina at a disadvantage.

    “You cannot regain that adrenaline from the first final swim. The momentum of our athletes was diminished,” said task force member Paul Ycasas.

    The head of the Philippine mission to the Myan-mar games Jeff Tamayo also said the order for a “re-swim” did not follow the rules set up by FINA (International Swimming Federation), the sport’s governing body.

    “The settlement of Thailand’s protest by calling for a re-swim is simply out of order,” Tamayo said in a statement.

    The Philippines’ head swimming coach, Carlos Brosas also charged that Singaporeans who dominate the region’s swimming federation, had favoured the “re-swim” and had already advised him that the Philippines’ protest would be unsuccessful.

    “The guys that really run the show, the bigwigs so to speak, are Singaporeans,” Brosas said in a statement from Myanmar.

    He said Friday’s “re-swim” had benefitted the Singaporeans as well which may explain why they favoured it.

    The Philippines lags at seventh in the medal tally at the 27th SEAGames with only 10 golds so far, said Ycasas.

    The country had dispatched a contingent of only 210 to Myanmar, one of its smallest ever to the competition, due to the large number of obscure games and the removal of more popular sports.

    Philippine sports officials had previously considered sending only a “token” group or even boycotting the Myan-mar games entirely.

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