[PHOTO -Mark Barriga (left) and Manuel Cappai of Italy exchange blows during their Light Flyweight boxing match on July 31 in London. Barriga was awarded a 17-7 points decision. AFP PHOTO]

MANILA, AUGUST 13, 2012 (MANILA TIMES) The Philippine contingent to the London Olympics was composed of 11 athletes. Some were expected to perform well, and perhaps win a medal. Others were admittedly longshots. The Filipino Olympians of 2012 are as follows:

Mark Anthony Barriga Boxing (menís light flyweight) Mark Anthony Barriga was tagged as the countryís brightest hope in the 2012 London Olympic Games, but the 19-year-old Panabo City pride failed to make it to the medal round as he absorbed a controversial 16-17 defeat at the hands of the experienced Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan in their round-of-16 bout. The Filipino boxer started his bid with a smashing 17-7 victory over Italian Manuel Cappai in the opening round before facing Zhakypov.

Daniel Caluag Cycling (menís BMX) Filipino-American Daniel Caluag, the only Asian participant in the 32-man strong field, was also hyped as one of the top contenders in his pet event, having won a couple of titles in the US. Caluag, however, missed the cut and finished dead last in Heat 3 with a total score of 29 points.

Marestella Torres Athletics (womenís long jump) Former Asian long jump queen Marestella Torres honestly admitted she needs a miracle to earn at least a bronze medal in the Olympics. True enough, when the Beijing Games veteran wound up 22nd in a field of 30 with 6.22 meters, far from 7.12m nailed by eventual champion Britney Reese of the US.

Rene Herrera Athletics (menís 5,000m) Despite facing a tall order, five-time Southeast Asian Games champion Rene Herrera didnít quit and crossed the finish line with a new personal best of 14 minutes and 44.15 seconds. Heís ranked 42nd. Nonetheless, Herrera said that running side-by-side with some of the worldís best athletes is already a big achievement.

Brian Rosario Shooting (menís skeet) Out of 36 competitors, Brian Rosario placed 31st with 110 points on 22-19-25-22-22 showing in the five-round qualifying stage. Heís quite short of his personal best of 120 points he scored in his previous international tournament that could have easily put him into the next round.

Rachelle Cabral Archery (womenís individual) Rachel Cabral, a multi-medalist in the Southeast Asian Games, lost in the first round against 10th seed Inna Stepanova of Russia, 1-7 (23-22, 23-18, 25-25 and 27-22).

Mark Javier Archery (menís individual) On his second Olympic Games appearance, Mark Javier was again denied of a podium finish, losing to multi-titled American Brady Ellison, 1-7 (27-29, 25-28, 25-25 and 22-29). Both Cabral and Javier were predicted to, at least, make it to the second round. But it didnít happen as they bowed against their respective world-class rivals.

Tomohiko Hoshina Judo (menís 100+ kilograms) Filipino-Japanese Tomohiko Hoshina was gone in 65 seconds, succumbing by ďipponĒ to South Korean Kim Sung-min in the first round. Ippon is a Japanese word that means ďone full point.Ē In judo, it is awarded when an athlete was able to pin down his/her opponent for several seconds.

Jessie Khing Lacuna Swimming (menís 200m freestyle) Youth Olympic Games veteran Jessie Khing Lacuna for sure gained an extraordinary experience seeing the likes of Michel Phelps and Ryan Lochte. For now, the 18-year-old Lacuna settled for 36th with one minute and 52.91 seconds with high hopes of achieving the same feat of his idols in the near future.

Jasmine Alkhaldi Swimming (womenís 100m freestyle) Jasmine Alkhaldi, also a veteran of the Youth Olympic Games, negotiated the 100m race in 57.13 seconds, good for 34th overall out of 48 competitors. Lacuna and Alkhaldi were the token representatives of the Philippines in swimming based on the universality rule of the world governing body. All member countries of the International Swimming Federation were given two slots.

Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting (womenís 58-kg) Hidilyn Diaz, the countryís flag bearer, started her bid with an impressive 97-kg lift in snatch. Moments later, the 21-year-old went out of the venue in tears after missing her three attempts in the clean and jerk and crashed out of the competition. She was expected to land in the Top 10.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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