Four-time Southeast Asian Games long jump champion Marestella Torres-Sunang said that she will be aiming for a Top 5 finish in the 2016 Olympic Games that will begin on August 5 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The three-time Olympian expressed optimism after her intensive training under veteran coach Jim Lafferty.
“With my condition today, my goal is to reach the finals. I don’t look at any distance. I am just looking forward to making it to the Top 12 or Top 5,” said Torres-Sunang during the sendoff organized by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) and Lafferty, the head of the Adopt-an-Olympian Program.
Torres-Sunang posted 6.72 meters, just .2 above the Olympic standard, during her sixth and final jump at the Kazakhstan Open.
Torres-Sunang became the first athlete to use Lafferty’s unique holistic method developed in 2014. The program includes medical consultation, body fat and physical testing, massage therapy, yoga and, dietary supervision.
“We have always believed that Marestella and Eric [Cray] have a strong chance to make the finals. This puts them in the medal hunt,” said Lafferty.
He added that they will monitor Torres-Sunang’s body fat until the competition and help her reduce it so she can jump farthest.
Besides Torres-Sunang and Cray, the other trackster also seeing action in the Rio Games is Mary Joy Tabal, who is currently in Yokohama, Japan completing a month-long training.
“All athletes would dream and target the same, to get a medal and podium finish. So I will go with other’s flow even though it’s hard or, maybe, impossible. But that will encourage me to do well in training and the competition itself,” said Tabal via video conference.
“Having for the first time three entries for athletics in the Olympics does not come as a surprise to us. This is the fruit of all the hard work of these three athletes and valuable support of the government and the private sector. Producing top class athletes like Marestella, Mary Joy and Eric takes intentional program planning,” said PATAFA President Philip Ella Juico.