PERTH, Australia: The Philippine Swimming League (PSL) made its presence felt on the opening day of the 2015 Indian Ocean All-Stars Challenge as it snared 10 golds, two silvers and two bronzes on Saturday at the Challenge Stadium here.
Male Swimmer of the Year awardee Sean Terence Zamora spearheaded the country’s campaign by bagging three gold medals while Milo Junior Athlete of the Year Kyla Soguilon and former Rookie of the Year Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh delivered two gold each in their respective age groups.
Zamora stamped his class in the boys’ 14 years 200-meter backstroke as he a new meet record of 2:22.52, erasing the 2:44.39 old mark of Kai Junn Tham of Australia. He also won golds in the 50m freestyle (26.27) and 200-meter freestyle relay with teammate Christian Paul Cusing.
Soguilon, on the other hand, ruled the girls’ 10 years 50m freestyle in 31.32 and 50m butterfly in 35.02 then placed second in the 100m breaststroke (1:31.87).
For her part, Mojdeh topped the girls’ 8 years 50m freestyle (35.82) and 50m butterfly (37.74)
Not to be outdone were Stephen Guzman of Meridian International Learning Experience School, Drew Benett Magbag of University of the Philippines Integrated School and Rio Lorenzo Malapitan of Divine Word College, who delivered gold medals in their respective events.
Guzman reigned supreme in the boys’ 11 years 50m freestyle (32.29); Magbag dominated the boys’ 15-16 breaststroke (1:10.61); and Malapitan was a member of the boys’ 11 years 200m freestyle relay gold.
“First of all PSL dedicates this campaign to our God Almighty. Second to the all out support of the Filipino community. God sent this group to PSL and open the gates for us here in Perth. We will go all out to make it worth all the expenses and hard work,” said PSL President Susan Papa, who thanked the Filipino community in Australia headed by Filipino Australian Club Inc. Founder and Vice President Vicki Wotherspoon, President Jessie Cajustin and International Advocacy Film Director Dave Cecilio along with Fr. Concord Bagaoisan, Dante Maribbay Jr., Bien Dela Cerna, Ofelia Leady and Arturo Soriano.
The other medalists were Martin Jacob Pupos of University of Perpetual Help (silver in boys’ 15-16 breaststroke and bronze in 50m freestyle) and Julian Pupos of UST (bronze in girls’ 17-over 50m freestyle). Aalia Jaire Espejo will be gunning for medals in the girls’ 12 years 50m fly and 200m breast).
“The Australian Embassy helped us wholeheartedly. They waived our visa fee without hesitation. But when the PSL asked for travel tax exemption to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), they denied our application. Mabuti pa yung Australian Embassy narerecognize yung effort ng mga bata kumpara sa PSC,” said Joan Mojdeh, mother of Micaela Jasmine.
Papa is looking to duplicate the team’s 34-gold, six-silver, 10-bronze showing in the 2014 edition.
“We also want to dedicate these winnings to PSC Chairman Richie Garcia to open his eyes and have compassion for young and talented swimmers,” added Papa.
The PSL is the national sports swimming association for universities and colleges accredited by the Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines —an internationally affiliated member of Federation of International Sports University (FISU).