RIO DE JANEIRO – Marestella Torres-Sunang is saving her best for last.
On the eve of her final Olympic stint, the 35-year-old Filipina long jumper is looking to finally break through in her third and final appearance in the Summer Olympics.
Sunang competed in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics, but failed to deliver on both occasions. Now in her final stab at glory, Sunang vowed to give everything she could to make the finals of her pet event.
“Sana nga dito ako maka-finals. Last Olympics ko na ito. Finals talaga ang target,” she said.
Sunang is one of the last three Filipino athletes to see action in this city of sumba, along with fellow trackter Eric Cray, who made the semis of the men’s 400-m hurdles, and taekwondo jin Kirstie Alora, who is set to compete on August 21.
The veteran long jumper is aware expectations are high especially after doing 6.72 meters during the Kazakhstan Open to earn a ticket to her third Olympics. The mark incidentally, surpassed her Southeast Asian Games record of 6.71 meters when she won the long jump gold in Palembang, Indonesia in 2011.
A repeat of that feat in the preliminaries on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning, Manila time), would at least give Sunang a decent shot at being one of the 12 finalists out of the 38 entries seeing action at the Nilton Santos Stadium.
The finals is set on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).
“Ma-surpass ko lang best ko aabot na sa finals,” said Sunang, who describes herself as a “diesel engine” that takes time to warm up.
Sunang said she and coach Joebert Delicano, a former long jump champion himself, are now trying to do something for her to get warmed up quickly since competitors are only given three jumps each unlike in other events where six attempts are provided.
“Didiskartehan namin ni coach,” said Sunang,
“Ang plano namin is sa warm up area pa lang, jump siya. Para wamed up na siya ng husto sa first official jump niya,” said Delicano.