SINGAPORE - A son of a fisherman from Iloilo made history in the 9th ASEAN School Games by clinching a gold medal for the country in record-breaking fashion.
James Lozañes, a grade 11 student of Estancia National High School, registered a distance of 66.39 meters in the boys’ 700g javelin to rule the event and eclipse the previous meet record of 62.28m set in 2015.
The feat was made remarkable as the 17-year-old trackster exceeded the 65 meter distance set by the athletics technical officials here.
“Akala siguro nila na hindi mabre-break yung record kaya ang measurement lang nila ng distance ay hanggang 65 meters lang (Maybe, they thought no one can beat the record this year so they set a measurement of only 65 meters),” said Anthony Valdez, one of the athletics coaches for Team Philippines.
The record-breaker gave Team Philippines its 11th gold medal for fifth place overall. It also had six silvers and 16 bronzes.
Indonesia continues to show the way in the medal tally with 19 golds, 21 silvers, and 17 bronzes, followed closely by Thailand (19-13-19). The host country occupies the third spot (17-19-19) while Vietnam comes in at fourth (13-18-8).
Breaking meet records are nothing new to Lozanes
Three months ago, he also did the same during the Palarong Pambansa at the Binirayan Sports Complex in San Jose, Antique when he reset the record in the 500g javelin throw with 59.46 meters, topping the previous national mark of 57.81 by Bryan Pacheco.
"Hindi ko ini-expect na malalagpasan ko ang record (I didn't expect to surpass the record)," said Lozañes, seeing action in his first international competition.
Lozañes' did the most of his campaign here as he’ll be turning 18 later this year, making him ineligible to represent the country in the next edition of the meet.
"Sobrang saya po pakinggan ang ating national anthem na tinutugtog during sa awarding (I was extremely happy hearing our national being played during the awarding rites)," he said.
Lozañes came from a far-flung municipality of Iloilo province, but never shied away from the limelight as he outperformed Tingjia Wang of Singapore (59.76) and Pornpraphan Dechochai (59.49), who settled for the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
On his first attempt, Lozañes registered a distance of 55m, then followed by a 58m throw on the second.
"Hindi pa kasi ako galit nun (I was still not angry at that time)," Lozañes said with a smile.
"After nung nakuha ko yung 66.39 m distance, umiiling na ang mga kalaban ko eh (After I recorded 66.39m, my rivals just shook their head in disbelief)," said the second to the youngest child of Jinky, housewife, and Marianeto, fisherman.
Lozañes said he was dedicating the gold medal to his supportive parents.
The Ilonggo athlete got hook into the sport when he was still 10 years-old. He was influenced by his former coach from Bulwangan Elementary School to venture into javelin.
He immediately displayed his potential in the sport after he won the gold medal in a Unit Meet.
Lozañes stands to receive a P5,000 cash incentive from the Department of Education (Deped).