SPECIAL FEATURE

Politics and war brought to close the 1934 FEG

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The tri-nation Far Eastern Games (FEG), the only second ad biggest multi-event sports competition in the world next to the quadrennial Olympic Games, folded up following the staging of its 10th edition held in 1934 in Manila were it originally started in 1913.

While athletes from the Philippines lorded it over their counterparts from Japan and China as general champions in four of the Games’ first nine editions, it was the Japanese turn to show the way in this final holding of the conclave, whose death was attributed to the emerging Word War II.

Political feud between Japan and China contributed immensely to Games’ demise.

The Filipinos although losing the overall crown fight to the Japanese, did not took the sitting down as they remained the region’s basketball kingpins for the ninth time, while coming out champions, too, in baseball, a sport the Japanese would dominate later, and in volleyball, both for men and women, the latter contested for the first and last time.


Cager Mariano Filomeno, one of Filipino heroes in the 1934 FEG. PHOTO FROM EDDIE ALINEA’S FILE

They, too, eventually lost their grip on track and field, an event they considered their own from 1913 to 1927, and swimming, which they last ruled in 1927, both to the Japanese.

Despite the strong showing of the Japanese in both the track and field events in athletics, the Filipino runner, jumpers and throwers, particularly Olympians Simeon Toribio and Miguel White managed to bring home six god medals.

Toribio, fresh from a bronze medal finish in he 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, defended his high jump title for the third time but only following a jump off with closest rival, Japanese Toshiro Asakuma.

White, also a bronze medal winner in the Berlin Summer Games in 1936, survived the challenge put up compatriot Constantino Alambra in ruling the 400-mefer hurdles, which was first disputed, in the biennial meet.

Rafael de Leon turned out to be newest Asian fastest man following his victory in the 100 meters. Other Filipino gold medallists in the final edition of the Games in athletics were German Gandari in the 400 meters, Aurelio Amante in discus throw, Daniel May in decathlon and he men’s 4 x 400 relay team made up of Alambra, Serafin Estrada, White and Gandari.

Swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso, another bronze medal victor in the L.A, Games, raised his gold medal collection since 1923 to five by topping anew his masterpiece 200-meter breaststroke.

In the same way that basketeer Mariano Filomeno ended serving the country in the Games by reaming up, among others, with Olympians Ambrosio Padilla, Jacinto Ciria Cruz, Amador Obifdo, Bibiano Ouano and Franco Marquicias in the Philippines’ ninth title conquest of their countrymen’s favorite pastime—basketball.

China won its ninth straight title in the football, since dethroning the Philippines in 1915.

The Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) participated at the games for the first time, becoming only the second nation outside of the traditional three to send a delegation to the event after India in 1925.

Official women’s events featured on the program for the first time. Although some women’s activities had been included since 1921, this marked the first occasion that women’s sports were given parity with men’s contest and were treated as part of the official medal count and points tables. The swimming program featured at least four different events for women.

Before the games, Japanese that Manchukuo (Manchuria) compete as an independent team at the 10th FEG, which encountered stiff opposition from China. Manchukuo had a puppet state of the Japanese Empire following its invasion of Manchuria in 1931.

The 11th Far Eastern Championship Games was scheduled to be held in 1938 in Osaka, Japan, but was cancelled after the 1937 outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War. With the Philippines remaining as the only surviving nation of the three founding members nations, the Far Eastern Athletic Association was dismantled.

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