ATHENS (VIA  GLOBE  TELECOM),  August 31, 2004  (MANILA TIMES) Eleven Filipino athletes and officials, including tae kwon do bets Mary Antoinette Rivero and Donald David Geisler 3rd, will arrive in Manila at 3:25 p.m. Tuesday from here by way of Bangkok, coming home without a medal in the 28th Olympic Games.

Rivero and Geisler came close to winning medals in the under-67 and under-80 kilogram categories, respectively, on the final days of the two-week quadrennial event.

Steve Hontiveros, chef de mission of the 16-man RP Olympic delegation, heads today’s arrivals.

Also flying in with Hontiveros via Thai Airways are tae kwon do jin Tshomlee Go and marathon entry Eduardo Buenavista, coaches Jesus Morales 3rd and The Hyung Kim (tae kwon do) and Joseph Sy (athletics) and officials Carlos Santos-Viola, Gus Villanueva and Dr. Jose Raul Canlas.

The Philippines failed to win a medal for the second consecutive Olympics, but the athletes did better in Athens than in Sydney four years ago.

Besides Rivero and Geisler, the best performers were the archer Jasmin Figueroa, swimmers Jaclyn Pangilinan and Miguel Molina and the trap shooter Jethro Dionisio.

Figuroa, a 19-year-old first-timer, made waves by knocking out the former world archery record-holder from Italy, Natalia Valeeva, in the round of 32, and then dropped a close two-point decision to World University Games silver medalist Almudena Gallardo of Spain in the round of 16.

Figueroa was ranked 27th, making her the highest Filipino finisher in the Olympic archery competition. Figueroa finished ahead of Francisco Naranjilla Jr., 37th in the 1972 Munich Olympics, and Jennifer Chan, 58th in the 2000 Sydney Games.

Rivero won her first two assignments over Argentina’s Vanina Sanchez Beron and the Netherlands’ Charmie Sobers to advance to the semifinals. That put her a win away from a silver medal and a shot at the gold. But she ran into Greece’s Elisavet Mystakidou, who ousted her by a controversial 3-2 count.

Pangilinan, 18-year-old Fil-American from New Jersey, broke two national records, while Molina, a University of Berkely student, ripped another in swimming.

The Philippine boxing team, which did not go beyond the second round, is slated to return on September 3. It is composed of coaches Gregorio Caliwan and Nolito Velasco, masseur Pat Gaspi and boxers Harry Tanamor, Violito Payla, Romeo Brin and Christopher Camat.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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