ASIAN GRAND PRIX: LERMA WINS LONG JUMP GOLD; THAILAND TOOK SILVER

RIZAL MEMORIAL, June 10, 2003 By Abac Cordero, (Star) Lerma Bulauitan delivered before her cheering countrymen yesterday as she won the long jump gold in the fourth and final leg of the 2003 Asian Grand Prix at the Rizal Memorial track oval.

"Hindi ko po talaga inasahan,"
said the 29-year-old Bulauitan after she finally caught up with Kazakhstanís Yelena Kochsheyeva, the clear favorite and winner of the gold in the first three legs of this yearís Grand Prix in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Bulauitan, gearing up for the Asian Championships in September in Manila and the SEA Games in Vietnam in December, won the gold with a personal best of 6.48 meters on the third of six attempts.

"Para kasing nagbago ang lakas ko dahil sa tao. Iba talaga kapag nasa sariling bansa,"
said Bulauitan, who surpassed the 6.46 she posted during the National Open last August.

Bulauitan won $3,000 for her winning effort. She also won $1,250 for each of her silver medals in Sri Lanka and Thailand Ė both behind Kochsheyeva who couldnít do better than a 6.24 for the bronze.

Thailandís Wacharee Rittiwat took the silver at 6.24.

Sharing the dayís honors was Susanthika Jayasinghe of Sri Lanka, who was running a fever just the other night but ran a very hot race yesterday as she topped the womenís century dash.

"I really felt tired this morning because of the fever," said the 27-year-old Susanthika after she bested nine others for the gold with a time of 11.32 seconds.

Despite the victory, Susanthika wasnít at all happy since her time was a shade slower than 11.12 she posted in winning the Busan Asian Games gold last year. But it was enough to give her a third gold in four legs this year. She won in India and Sri Lanka and finished second in Thailand last week.

"This is not happiness for me. But now I know how to prepare for the World Championships in Paris this August," said Jayasinghe.

John Lozada of the Philippines won the silver in the menís 800m.

Like Bulauitan, wearing a big smile was Trisha Roberts of Thailand after she swept the gold in all four legs in the 100-m hurdles, this time with a time of 12.94 seconds, which was behind her personal best of 12.73 she set in the US in 1998.

"I really felt good on this track. And Iím just happy to finish the Grand Prix on a good note," said Roberts,whose father, an American, is married to a Thai.

Other winners as of presstime were Narongdech Janjai of Thailand in the menís 110-m hurdles (14.03), Genadiy Chernovol of Kazakhstan in the menís century dash (10.31), Damayanthi Darsha of Sri Lanka in the womenís 400-m (52.12), Abbas Samimi of Iran in the menís discus (60.02), Du Xianhui of Singapore in the womenís shot put (17.80), and Mohammaed Al-Khuwaidi of Saudi Arabia in the menís long jump (7.80).


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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