The Philippine Athletics Team completed the 28th Southeast Asian Games (Summary of Participation Team Pilipinas Athletics) with a spectacular performance and brought home 21 medals—five golds, seven silvers, and nine bronzes (Summary of Medal Performance Team Pilipinas Athletics). A stunning 62% improvement in a span of two years.
The double gold medal haul in the 100-meter dash, won by Eric Shauwn Cray and Kayla Richardson, earned the Philippines the title, Speed Capital of Southeast Asia. The outstanding and heroic finish of Christopher Ulboc, Jr. in the 3000-meter steeplechase highlighted the overall performances of our athletes on the very day the country celebrated its 117th Independence Day.
To celebrate these victorious moments, Veloci Time in partnership with L Timestudio, hosted a victory party to honor Team Pilipinas Athletics participants for their athletic efforts. The event started with video clips showing the victorious moments as they battled each race with fervor and with one aim in mind—to bring honor to our country.
Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA) chief Philip Ella Juico in his welcome message said, “This may sound corny, but it comes from the bottom of our hearts. We thank all of you (including our sponsors and the media) for supporting our athletes.”
Veloci Time Roy Chua delivered his welcome remarks by sharing his thoughts, “As I approached and saw the stadium, I was in awe because it was actually huge and massive, intimidating. Then I realized it’s the moment of truth for our athletes. After all those years of hardwork, the dreadful training, strict diet, the confined rest, the deprivation of social life, and the catching up work on academics, it is a defining moment. You would see the athletes excited in showcasing their prowess that they’ve worked for years and watching from the sideline it was just a rare moment. We are very proud of our Filipino athletes who won five golds, seven silvers, and nine bronzes. Congratulations to us!”
What’s next for athletics? Athletics is eyeing international competitions such as the Olympics and World Championships. “Eric Cray has qualified for the Olympics in Rio and is ranked Number 10 in the world in the 400-meter hurdles,” said Juico. “This is a huge achievement to have a bona fide qualifier from the Philippines. We are targeting to have 2-3 more before the 2016 Olympic Games open in Rio,” Juico added. Possible bets are pole vaulter EJ Obiena and two-time Olympian Marestella Torres in long jump. “We should be applauding Marestella Torres. She is 34 years old. She had a baby who is now only one year old. She came all the way back, qualified and medaled in her event, and was only beaten by two world-class jumps by the Vietnamese and Indonesian, both breaking their national records. It required national record jumps, a perfect day to beat her. Marestella is a tribute to mothers everywhere who combine motherhood with excellence in other facets of life. She is a hero for getting onto that podium,” Juico continues.
The athletics team did not go without a heartbreak. For some former champions, getting the gold medal was kind of elusive. Most notable among these athletes were Jason Ramil Cid in decathlon, Archand Bagsit in 400 meters, and Marestella Torres in long jump. “While some may be focused solely on gold medals, we are not. A podium finish is what matters. This is sports. Sometimes there is an injury. Sometimes a fraction of a second means the difference between gold and silver. We must be wise and celebrate the achievement and not nitpick. In three races we had photo finishes and we got the silver in all three. Give us another tenth of a second we would have three more gold medals,” says Juico.
Veloci Time and L Timestudio representatives witnessed and cheered the intense, breathtaking and power performances of our athletes. There were victorious moments as well as unsuccessful attempts. But the remarkable effort, as they fought for a triumphant finish, is what really matters.
A snappy salute to all of you!