KUALA LUMPUR – As the 29th Southeast Asian Games comes to a close, Filipino athletes from track and field and triathlon emerged as top performers after posting impressive victories in this prestigious 11-nation conclave.
Mary Joy Tabal and Trenten Beram were at the forefront of the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association’s (Patafa) campaign as they delivered a total of three of the federation’s five gold medals in the biennial meet, which closes Wednesday at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium here.
Tabal ruled the women’s marathon event while Beram dominated the men’s 200-meter and 400-meter runs.
Also chipping in to the medal harvest of Patafa were Eric Cray in the men’s 400-meter hurdles and Aries Toledo in the men’s decathlon to underscore Patafa’s five gold, three silver and 10 bronze medals.
It could have been more if luck bounced off Patafa’s way.
A sure gold medal winner in EJ Obiena suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury while Patrick Unso opted to sit out to rest his recurring injury.
But still, Patafa’s finish is not far from the five gold, seven silver and nine bronze medals it delivered in the previous biennial meet in Singapore.
The triathletes also made their mark.
Nikko Huelgas and Kim Mangrobang retained their crowns in the men’s and women’s divisions while John Chicano and Claire Adorna settled for silver medals as the Filipinos completely dominated the sport.
Other athletes who contributed to the country’s medal haul this year are those from taekwondo, billiards, gymnastics and boxing.
The jins finished with two gold, three silver and four bronze medals while the cue artists chipped in two gold, a silver and two bronze medals.
National gymnasts, behind the masterful performance of rookie Caitlyn Dela Cruz, copped two gold, a silver and three bronze medals while the boxers managed to conquer two gold, a silver and two bronze medals to finish second behind powerhouse Thailand despite sending only six boxers.
The Philippines is set to close this edition of the meet at sixth place with less than half of the 50 gold medals projected by chief of mission Cynthia Carrion.