Capas, Tarlac—Natalie Uy leaped to a height of 4.25 meters and into the record books in the pole vault competition at the New Clark City here on a day the Philippines virtually secured the overall crown of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Uy, who burst into the Philippine athletic scene in the National Open early this year by immediately taking down an 11-year national record, methodically shattered the six-year SEA Games’ mark of Thailand’s Sukanya Chomchuendee, whose 4.21-meter effort was achieved in the 2013 SEA Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar.
The Fil-American Uy, a bronze medalist in the Asian Athletics Championship in Doha, Qatar, cleared the bar at 3.5 meters during her first try and increased it by a tenth of a meter in succession. In the 9th round, she assured herself of the gold when she successfully leaped to 4.15 meters, which defending champion Chomchuendee Chayanisa of Thailand failed to clear.
READ: SEA Games awaken Filipinos’ sense of patriotism
With gold in her hands, the 5’8” standout from Eastern Michigan University then aimed for the SEAG record and succeeded after clearing 4.25 on her 11th jump. She tried to go higher 4.35 meters, but she fumbled on her three attempts.
“It was so much fun. And I just took it all in,” said Uy, who also clinched the pole vault gold in the PH Open with a record-smashing 4.12 meters right in her first try to shatter an 11-year national women’s record of 4.11 meters recorded by Deborah Samson at the 2008 California Regionals.
Uy’s achievement highlighted the Philippines’ virtual coronation as the SEA Games’ overall champion with a gold-silver-bronze harvest of 105-81-88 (274 medals), which second-running Indonesia, with a tally of 65-61-77, can no longer catch with only two days left in the games.
Vietnam (60-58-74), Thailand (55-72-73) and Singapore (43-33-48) round out the top five.
‘‘Having the privilege of being both the PSC chairman and the chef de mission, I am witness to the many beautiful stories behind this event, and given a glimpse into the legacies that the SEAG will leave. The gains from this event do not end when the curtains come down on the 30th SEAG edition. On top of the victories, there are many long-term advantages — legacies — the SEAG gifted us with,’’ said Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez.
Uy’s feat coupled with Sarah Dequinan’s women heptathlon victory following a second-place finish in 800 meters brought athletics’ gold-medal haul to five, counting Ernest John Obiena’s win in the pole vault, Kristina Knott in the 200 meters on Saturday and Christine Hallasgo’s marathon triumph on Friday.
Knott, however, settled for the silver in the women’s 100-meters after failing to catch up with defending titlist Thi Chinh Le’s fast start.
“My leg is all numb and Im lying down. Nerves got the best of me,” said Knott. “Damn. It’s okay, she (Le) did a good race, I still got two more races so I have to go back inside.”
Le, who avenged her setback to Knott in the 200-meters the other day, clocked a season’s best time of 11.54 seconds.
Malaysian sprinter Muhammad Hanafi of Malaysia took the gold in 10.35 seconds, in the men’s 100-meters run in the absence of challenge coming from Fil-American Eric Cray, who missed the chance after being disqualified due to false start in the heats.
Cray, who is a former gold medalist in the event, was disqualified after moving ahead of the gun start twice in Heat 1 at the Athletic Stadium. It appeared that Cray did not hear the gun signal due to the noise from the crowd.
Unheralded Mariano Masano added a silver when he unexpectedly placed runner-up behind reigning champion Duong Van Thai of Vietnam in the men’s 1500-meter run.
Masano clocked 4:08.27, behind Duong’s 4:06.63, which is slower than the 3:51.44 that earned the Vietnamese the crown back in 2017.
Meanwhile, Filipino sprinter Anfernee Lopena placed second in Heat 2 to qualify for the finals. He timed 10.61 behind Lac bandit Chuangchai of Thailand (10.50).
The doubles gold became doubly special because it was the 100th gold won by the Philippines.
The sisters were former tennis players who later moved to soft tennis. The sport was first played in the SEA Games in 2011.
“It’s very historic. Another gold for soft tennis. First gold in women’s doubles. I’m so happy that I and my sister gave honor to the country,” said Manalac.
In Subic, Phillip Delarmino and Ariel Lee Lampacan earned two tough victories to win the gold medals in the muaythai competition at the Exhibition and Convention Center.
READ: Delarmino, Lampacan bag muay thai golds
Delarmino, the bronze medalist in the 2018 IFMA World Championship, survived a late flurry by Vietnam’s Long Doan Nguyen to rule the 57kg division through a unanimous decision, 29-28.
Baguio-native Lampacan bucked a lethargic start to his bout against Sakchai Chamchi, ending the match strong to win via UD (29-28) as well and emerge as champion of the 54kg weight class.
Ryan Jakiri, Islay Bomogao, and Jenelyn Olsim could not say the same, settling for silver in their respective finals matches.
Also in Subic, Melcah Jen Caballero captured her 2nd gold medal in the rowing competition at the ACEA Bay.
Caballero topped the lightweight women’s scull after recording a winning time of 7:50.89. On Friday, Caballero and Joanne Delgado topped the women’s lightweight double sculls.
READ: Caballero captures 2nd rowing gold in SEA Games
‘‘I gave it my best shot because this is my final event,’’ said the 23-year-old Caballero, who hails from Camarines Sur.’’ I dedicate this win to my parents.’’ Caballero and the rowing team trained in China before the SEAG.
“I would like to thank the Philippine Sports Commission for supporting us,’’ said Caballero.
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