A son of a fisherman from Iloilo made history in the 9th Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) Schools Games (ASG) by setting a new record in javelin throw.
James Lozañes, a Grade 11 student of Estancia National High School, registered a distance of 66.39 meters in the 700g javelin throw, eclipsing the previous ASG record of 62.28m which was set in 2015.
This feat was even more remarkable when Lozañes exceeded the 65-meter measurement distance set by the ASG athletics technical officials.
“The may have thought that that it’s impossible to break the record hence they made the measurement limit at 65 meters only,” said Anthony Valdez in Filipino, one of the athletics coaches for the Philippines.
Journey to success
Three months ago at the Binirayan Sports Complex in San Jose de Buenavista, Antique, the 17-year-old Iloilo native also broke the Palarong Pambansa record after he registered 59.46 meters in the 500g javelin throw event, topping the previous national meet’s record set at 57.81 meters by Bryan Pacheco.
“I didn’t expect to break the record,” Lozañes, who was playing in his first international competition, said.
It was indeed a magical end to Lozañes’ campaign as he made the most of his first and last stint in the ASG as he is turning eighteen this year.
To participate in the ASG, athletes must be 18 years old or younger on 1 January of the year of the games, and be full-time students in their respective ASEAN countries.
“I was so happy to hear our national anthem being played during the awarding ceremony,” he proudly said.
Though Lozañes came from a far-flung municipality in Iloilo province, he never cowered in front of a challenge besting Tingjia Wang of Singapore (59.76m) and Pornpraphan Dechochai (59.49m). Wang snatched the silver while Dechochai secured the bronze.
On his first attempt, Lozañes registered a distance of 55 meters then followed by a 58-meter throw.
“I was still not angry at that time,” Lozañes said with a smile.
“After I achieved the 66.39-meter distance, my opponents are shaking their heads,” said the second to the youngest child of Jinky, housewife, and Marianeto, fisherman.
Lozañes said he was dedicating the gold medal to his supportive parents.
He was introduced to the sport when he was still 10 years old. He was influenced by his former coach from Bulwangan Elementary School to venture into javelin.
He immediately displayed his potential in the sport after he won the gold medal in a Unit Meet.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones gave her full support to the 224-strong Philippine contingent. The education chief is very passionate with dreams and reforms for sports in order to be at par with neighboring regions.
The ASG, organized by the Asean Schools Sports Council, aims to promote Asean solidarity among youths while providing opportunities for student-athletes to benchmark their sporting talents. This year’s theme is “Together as ONE,” representing the goal of Asean’s youths to achieve solidarity through school sports, friendly competition and cultural exchange. The students will compete in the following sports: athletics, badminton, basketball, gymnastics, sepak takraw, swimming, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, and tenpin bowling.
Singapore hosted the annual ASG for the second time since its introduction in 2009. This year’s event coincided with Asean’s 50th anniversary and the first time all 10 member-countries—Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and first-timer Myanmar— all competed in the event.