NANJING – Mia Legaspi and Princess Superal continued to deliver under the punishing weather condition as the Philippines braced for a 1-2 finish in girls’ golf in the 2nd Asian Youth Games here.
Legaspi, who’s just 14 years old, fired a second straight six-under-par 66 at the Zhongshan International Golf Club to stay in the lead with a 132 total and only 18 holes left.
The 16-year-old Superal, playing out of the ICTSI golf team, carded a 67 after an opening round of 69 and moved just four shots behind her teammate after three rounds.
Legaspi and Superal, who have won titles in the US Kids World Championships and the San Diego Junior Masters, now has the chance to deliver the first medal or medals for the Philippines here.
After five days of competition in this sun-baked city, the Philippines has yet to win a medal following defeats in badminton, judo, weightlifting, table tennis and rugby.
Thailand’s Sangchan Supamas had a second straight 69 for a 138 which is six strokes behind Legaspi. China’s Shi Yuting had a 68 for a tie with Supamas while Hong Kong’s Ho Mimi is at 143 (74-69).
Barring any major disaster, Legaspi and Superal can break the spell for the Philippines in this event reserved for athletes as young as 14 and as old as 17 years.
“Let’s continue to hope and pray for the best from our golfers,” said Philippine chef-de-mission Nathaniel “Tac” Padilla after hearing the good news.
Padilla was out looking after the Filipino badminton when he received word that the Filipino golfers are in full control of the girls’ division.
In the boys’ side, Gabriel Tomas Manotoc went under par at 71 following a 72 last Sunday. He now stands at 143, good for sixth place and nine shots behind Taipei’s Yu Chun-an (64-70-134).
Another Filipino jungolf standout, Rupert Zaragosa, couldn’t get his game going under the searing summer heat in this capital city of Jiangsu province.
Zaragosa struggled with a 76 after a 77 and is tied for 14th place.
In other fronts yesterday, shooter Celdon Jude Arellano wound up 23rd in a field of 37 in the boys’ 10m air rifle with a 602.9 total (102.9, 94.8, 101.8, 103.0, 100.0 and 100.4).
Another shooter, Amparo Therese Acuna, bowed out of the girls’ 10m air rifle 40 shots, and finished 12th in a field of 39.
Weightlifters Margaret Colonia and Mark Llena were waiting for the results from the higher group as of posting time after they were done competing in the girls’ 53 kg and boys 69 kg.
Colonia had a total of 131 which was good for fourth in Group B. She had a best lift of 61 in the snatch and a 70 in the clean and jerk where she failed twice at 75 kg.
Llena, the promising 15-year-old son of Philippine team coach Leonardo Llena, had the crowd at the Nanjing International Expo Center going with his near flawless stint.
Llena cleared all his lifts at 90, 96 and 100 kg in snatch and 115, 120 and 122 kg in the clean and jerk. He was so happy with his 222 total he hugged his father afterwards.
“This is a different level of competition and we have yet to watch the entries from the higher group,” said the 14-year-old Colonia who hails from Zamboanga.
“But it’s a great experience for all of us,” said the daughter of Olympian and former SEA Games gold medalist Gregorio Colonia, also a weightlifter.
In badminton, the mixed doubles pair of Alvin Morada and Joella de Vera blew their medal hopes in mixed doubles goodbye following a 21-19, 16-21, 18-21 loss to Taipei’s Yoh Lai and Lee Chi.
Mark Alcala, the second seed in boys’ singles, played with a nagging shoulder injury and lost to Hong Kong’s Cy Lee 21-14, 21-15.