Long jumper Marestella Torres good for a gold medal in Asiad, Patafa chief Philip Juico guarantees
Marestella Torres is good for a gold medal in the women's long jump of the 17th Asian Games, according to Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philip Juico. Jerome Ascano

INCHEON, Korea-- Only the bravest of hearts can make these vows.

Only two sports made the bold promise of winning a gold each for the Philippines that would boost its crawling campaign in the 17th Asian Game here on Sunday.

Newly-elected Patafa (Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association) president Philip Ella Juico believes long jumper Marestella Torres is ripe to become Asia’s long jump queen.

She may also succeed the semi-retired Elma Muros-Posadas who is now campaigning in the Masters, a competition for track and field veterans.

Juico said the only Olympian in his team has the chance to claim the Philippines’ most coveted medal in the Games, especially when the days are fast killing its chances of improving its haul of two silvers and a bronze medal from wushu, and another bronze medal from archery.

Torres’ best performance was in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games, where she leaped 6.71 meters. That is far better than the gold medal performance of 6.53m by Jun Soon-ok (Korea) in the last Asiad in Guangzhou, China.

“We are confident with Marestella,” Juico said. “She has come back fully after her break due to pregnancy. She is good for a gold medal when she sees action today. And who knows, she might realize her aim of succeeding to the throne of Elma as the Asia’s long jump queen?”

A bolder prediction came from taekwondo coach Roberto Cruz.

“We have not won a medal in the Asian Games. But it’s time we do,” Cruz said.
Cruz is pinning his hopes on the beauteous Pauline Louise Lopez, the 18-year old featherweight who wishes to add an Asiad gold medal to the Asian Youth Games mint she won in Nanjing in 2013.

Cruz also has three other bets tipped for victories. They are lightweight Butch Morrison, middleweight Chris Uy and welterweight Al Bautista.

“Kahit maka-isa kami, hindi pa kami nananalo ng gold sa Asian Games. Puro silver lang,” Cruz added.

Those Asiad silver medals were from Bobby Vargas (Hiroshima, 1994), Donald Geisler (Busan, 2002) and Tsomlee Go (Qatar, 2006).

The best Asian level gold medals, aside from Lopez’s AYG mint, were from the Asian Championships courtesy of Arnold Baradi in 1984, and Ali Atienza in 1994.

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