CHINESE-TAIPEI - Erlinda Lavandia became the most bemedalled Philippine athlete in the 17th Asia Masters Athletics Championships when she won her third gold medal by ruling the hammer throw event on Wednesday at the Taipei City Sports Park.
Lavandia, the most veteran among the 24 Filipino athletes in the field, completed a sweep of all her events after earlier claiming the gold medal in the javelin throw and shot put events for women 60-64 years old.
She just turned 60 last May.
Lavandia threw an easy 24 meters on her fourth try, beating Seki Meriko (19.16 m) and Sato Hiroko (17.71 m) of Japan.
Her performance jacked up the Philippines' total medal haul to eight golds, seven silvers, and five bronzes.
Two Philippine women's relay teams also contributed bronze medals on the final day of competitions. The Philippines' 4x400m relay team for men 45-49 years old are still on deck at press time late Wednesday with hopes of adding another medal to the country’s haul.
Lorna Vejano substituted for the injured Elma-Muros Posadas in anchoring the women's team in the 4x100m relay for women 45-49 years old, along with Salve Bayaban, Perla Lobos and Aurora Ramos. They clocked a respectable one minute and 2.40 seconds to finish third behind quartets from Thailand (1:02.06) and India (1:02.28).
The Philippine women's 4x100m relay team for 35-39 years old - comprised by Lerma Bulaitan-Gabito, Elenita Punelas, Rosejean Yparraguirre, and Victorina Calma - also salvaged a bronze.
They clocked 1:00.14 to finish behind teams from India (58.21) and Japan (58.42).
This is the Philippines' best performance yet in the tournament, according to delegation head and National Masters and Seniors Athletic Association of the Philippines (NMSAAP) president Manny Ibay.
PSC Chairman Ritchie Garcia had sent a congratulatory message to the team, calling their performance as "a job very well done!"
The PSC supported the country’s campaign in the meet together with Mizuno, Score (SportsCore Event Management and Consultancy), Sen. Chiz Escudero, Rexona, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Aside from Lavandia's three golds, Bulaitan-Gabito also contributed two gold medals to the Philippine cause (100-m and long jump for women 35-39 years old), Muros-Posadas with one (100-m for women 45-49 y.o.), and one each from Aurora Ramos (long jump, women, 50-54 y.o.), and Emerson Obiena (pole vault, men, 45-49 y.o.).