LERMA SNARES 2ND SILVER AT ASIAN GRAND PRIXBangkok, Thailand, June 7, 2003 -- Lerma Bulauitan-Gabito overcame a shaky start to claim the silver medal in the women's long jump in the third leg of the Asian Grand Prix in Bangkok, Thailand Thursday. The Cagayan-born Gabito leaped 6.39-m on her sixth and final attempt but failed to overhaul the 6.48-m mark of Kazakhstan's Yelena Kocksheyeva who ruled the event for the third consecutive time. The other Filipino entry, Maristella Torres, silver winner in the first stop in Hyderabad, India, could only do 6.29, losing to local hometown bet Rittiwat Watcharee who took the bronze with a 6.34-m distance. Gabito's runner-up finish is her second silver medal after three legs of the AGP which winds up in Manila for its fourth and final stop on June 9 at the Rizal track oval. She improved her 6.31-m distance registered in Colombo, Sri Lanka where she netted her first runner-up finish. The effort was worth another $1,500, raising her total earnings to $3,000 after three starts. A gold is worth $3,000 and a bronze $500. "Hindi na masama kung ang premyo lang ang pag-uusapan. Pero parang hirap ako makuha ang rhythm ko. I will try my best sa Maynila," Gabito was quoted by coach Joseph Sy as saying. Athletics chief Go Teng Kok observed that Gabito is progressively improving. "She did only 6.11 sa first leg sa India. Pagdating dito, I have high hopes that she and Torres will really perform creditably." Go added that although Kochsheyeva has ruled the AGP's first three legs, she does not appear to be authoritatively dominant. "She is not unbeatable," Go observed. The PATAFA chief also is preparing a reception for IAAF vice president Helmut Digel who arrives tomorrow to discuss matters of vital importance. It is widely believed that Digel's coming is an endorsement of Go's aspiration for a seat in the powerful 26-man IAAF executive council when elections come in August this year.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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