LOOKING cool, feeling relaxed and staying focused.
That’s long jumper Marestella Torres on Monday noon as she watched track and field action on television at the Village in the company of shooter Brian Rosario and swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi, a picture of one who looks very capable of doing better the second time around.
“I’ve trained for this one for so long. I know I will do good this time,” said Torres in Filipino, on the eve of her second Olympic stint. “Honestly, the field is too strong. But you’ll find me in the field on Tuesday doing my best.”
The 31-year-old Torres will try to slay the ghost of a horrendous showing four years ago in Beijing while going for a new personal best when she competes in the long jump at 7 p.m. Tuesday (2 a.m Wednesday in Manila) against a field which she knows is too formidable to beat.
The former Asian champion has trained long and hard for this one, working out here and competing there as she aims to come up with a respectable showing in the 30th London Games and finally bury the memory of her Beijing debacle.
In the last Olympics, Marestella finished 34th in a starting cast of 38 with a poor jump of 6.17 meters in a campaign which she said was marked by a lot of disruptions.
The qualifying jump to select the finalists is 6.70 meters, a distance which Marestella has yet to achieve since winning the last Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia last year with a jump of 6.71 meters.
But that doesn’t worry Marestella a bit.
“That’s the target, and I believe I can make it,” said Torres, who, like the rest of the field, has three attempts to do it in the qualifying round.
The 2009 Asian long jump queen, a native of San Jose, Negros Oriental who has been with the national team since 1999, doesn’t mind having to contend with the superstars in the sport, saying she’ll just go there and do her thing.
“I don’t look at their records,” she said. “When we are all there in the field, anything can happen. You can never tell,” said Torres.
In her buildup to the Games, Torres had more ups than downs.
Marestella is coming off a victory in the Asian All-Stars meet in Almaty, Kazaksthan, doing 6.62 meters in her sixth and final attempt and beating Kazakh Anastasha Kudinova who had 6.36m.
Before going to the Asian All-Stars tilt, Marestella competed in the Asian grand prix with modest success as she won the third leg (6.61m) to make up for her third place finish in the first leg (6:37m) and fifth place windup in the second (6.42m).