SEAGAMES 1ST DAY: 4 GOLDS, 3 SILVERS, 9 BRONZES FOR RP
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, Aug. 9, 1999 - A dramatic, victorious long jump by legendary Asian track queen Elma Muros Posadas yesterday highlighted a four-gold start for the Philippines in the 20th Southeast Asian Games here.
The three other gold medals were harvested from the pool table, the mat and the bowling lane as the Filipinos added three silvers and eight bronzes to their Day One collection.=20
As of last night, Indonesia, had seven golds, two silvers and three bronzes to take the top spot in the medal tally, followed by Thailand with a 5-9-3 gold-silver-bronze record.=20
Malaysia matched the Philippines' gold output, but had more silvers - seven - - and added four bronzes.=20
Billiards produced its first gold medal courtesy of Rodolfo Luat and Gandy Valle who won the 9-ball team event. Luat whipped Surathep Phoochalam, 15-7, while Valle won the last eight racks to turn back Amnuayporn Chotipong, 15-10, in the race-to-15 matches.=20
In Taekwondo, Alessandro Lubiano successfully defended his middleweight title, beating Thai Prawes Sattakam in the final.=20
At the Utama Bowling Center, Arianne Cerde=F1a stamped her class in women's singles, whipping two Malaysians with a six-game series of 1225. In the men's side, Ernesto Gatchalian Jr. took the bronze with 1264, 64 pins behind Singapore winner Dominic Limzhong.=20
Swimmer Lizza Danila, a 16-year-old prodigy from San Pablo, Laguna, nailed the country's first medal in swimming, finishing second in the women's 200-meter backstroke. Danila clocked 2:21.57 for the silver medal. Thai Chonlathorn won the gold in 2:20.05, way behind the meet record of 2:16.76 held by the now retired Filipina Akiko Thomson.
Muros bucked multiple injuries, a bad cold and faulty takeoffs to record her eighth long jump triumph, a record that would never probably be broken. It was Muros' 14th gold medal, counting her victories in other events, and it came on her sixth and final jump.=20
Given up for lost after failing to even get past 6.20 meters in five tries, Muros =93left everything to God=94 and got her wish with a winning jump of= 6.34 meters, way below her personal best of 6.56 meters but enough to top the= field.=20
"Ipinaubaya ko lahat sa Diyos. Sabi ko 'Lord, ikaw na ang bahala. Kung matalo ako tatanggapin ko ng buong puso.' Salamat at dininig niya ang aking panalangin," said Muros who clasped her hands and looked up to the sky after her jump.=20
Vietnamese Nguyen Van Bich and Lerma Balauitan had identical leaps of 6.27 meters, but the Filipina settled for the bronze medal due to her more number of attempts.=20
Muros came into the Games still hurting from injuries she sustained in the Asian Games last year in Bangkok. She hid the pain even from her husband-coach, Jojo Posadas, and received non- traditional treatment from spiritual healer Sister Leony and acupuncture expert Dr. Ephraim Agoncillo.= =20
On the eve of her event, Muros caught a bad cold with mucus dripping incessantly from her nostrils and eyes watery from the cold.
The 3,000-meter steeplechase event saw Hector Begeo, who dominated the event since the 80s, bow out in fifth place, almost 44 seconds behind Thai winner Suthichat Jirasak who clocked 9:03.96. Rookie Eduardo Buenavista, however, finished second in 9:10.08.=20
The other silver medal finish came in Taekwondo where Margarita Bonifacio lost in the final of the women's middleweight division. Two more jins, Dindo Simpao and Sally Solis, collared a bronze each in the men's and women's welterweight classes, respectively.=20
Karate contributed three bronze medals courtesy of Richard Lim and Armi Barbara Yap in men's and women's kata and the women's team kata.=20
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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