The Philippines made its presence felt in the 19th Asian Masters Athletics Championships as it grabbed three gold and two silver medals in the opening day at the National Stadium in Kallang, Singapore.
Veteran campaigner Erlinda Lavandia led the charge of the Filipino tracksters as she successfully defended her crown in the women’s javelin throw (60-64) event.
Lavandia registered 31.34 meters to outclass second-placer Yu Eng Tay of Malaysia, who submitted 27.30m and third-placer Roma Bhuvaneshi of India, who had a 20.25-meter showing.
Former Southeast Asian Games Games gold medalists Arniel Ferrera and Lerma Bulauitan-Gabito also secured gold medals in their favorite events.
Ferrera, a former SEA Games record holder, topped the men’s hammer throw (35-39) by virtue of his 53.93-meter output, good enough to defeat Taiwanese Chang Yau Yin (38.13m) and Chang Han Ching (29.91m), who settled for silver and bronze, respectively.
For her part, Bulauitan-Gabito dominated the women’s 100m dash (40-44) in 13.09 seconds, beating silver medalist Mals Irangani of Sri Lanka (13.19) and bronze winner Evgenia Maiocchi of Russia (13.42).
The silver medals were delivered by Mary Grace Milgar in the women’s 400m hurdles 35-39 (1:13.70) and Nenita Leal in the women’s 300m hurdles 50-54 (59.70).
More medals are expected to be added in the bag when other members of the team including Asian Champion-ship gold medalist Marestella Torres (women’s long jump 35-39), Eduardo Buenavista (men’s 1,500m run, 5,000m run and 10,000m run (35-39) and Renato Unso (men’s 400m hurdles 55-59) see action in their events.
EMIL C. NOGUERA