TWO more Filipino athletes went to the raging battles on Wednesday and fought, only to return to the Team Philippines camp in body bags.
First to fall in Day Five of the 38th Olympic Games was swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi, young and beautiful, who expectedly missed qualifying in the women’s 100-m freestyle event at the brand-new Aquatics Centre and joined the growing ranks of Filipino casualties.
A few hours later, archer Mark Javier missed his targets, missed his chance to do better and missed avoiding the sad fate that befell comrades Jessie Lacuna of swimming, Hidilyn Diaz of weighlifting, Brian Rosario of shooting and Rachelle Cabral of archery.
In a loss that really hurt, Javier took a 1-7 beating at the hands of American Brady Ellison in their head-to-head, round of 32 match as he became the second and last Filipino archer to fall by the wayside in as many days.
“I can’t get going. He (Ellison) is a good archer,” said Javier, who lost again in the round of 32 that replicated a similar stint in the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Alkhaldi, daughter of a Saudi national and a Filipina from Cebu City, came in only fifth in a field of seven in her heat with a time of 57.13 seconds to finish 34th overall out of 48 competitors in one of the glamour events of swimming.
“It’s a good swim but she missed her personal best by .02 seconds,” said coach Pinky Brosas.
The 16 top swimmers with the best times in the seven heats advanced to the semifinals later in the day, with Yi Tang of China submitting the best time of 53.28 seconds as she topped the fifth heat.
“The depth of the field is too much for our athletes. But there’s nothing to be ashamed of. They did their best. Marangal silang nakipaglaban,” said Team Philippines chief of mission Manny Lopez.
Ellison, a multi-titled American, got off to a hot start, winning the first round 29-27 on the strength of a pair of bullseyes. He kept his good game going, winning the second 28-25 as hit another two 10s in the first and second arrows.
A native of Dumaguete City, Javier hit his only bullseye with the third arrow of the third set, which ended at 25-25 all, before losing the fourth—and the match—20-29 as the American came up with his fifth and sixth 10s for the game.