SINGAPORE – It was understandable if Ma. Claire Adorna became emotional shortly after giving the Philippines its first gold medal in the 28th Southeast Asian Games here.
The 21-year-old Filipina admitted how she had to endure a nagging injury in her left ankle for years just to be able to compete and bring honor to the country.
Adorna was left in tears while being interviewed by Filipino reporters following her smashing win in women’s triathlon, admitting she had to compete with a torn tendon in her left ankle.
She later added surgery had to be postponed in order for her to compete in this year’s SEA Games.
Weeks before the biennial meet, Adorna had to stop running so that her ankle would be fine for the Singapore meet.
The Filipina triathlete, however, was obviously in pain during the race.
After gaining a three-minute lead at the end of the bike leg, Adorna had to settle winning the run by just one minute and eight seconds.
“Sobrang unexpected po kasi may injury po ako. Three weeks na po akong hindi tumatakbo,” said Adorna as tears began to fall on her cheeks.
“Sobrang pinilit ko na lang po para sa bayan. Kaya napakasaya ko po. Pinostpone po namin ‘yung surgery kasi gusto kong makasali dito,” added the former swimmer from University of the Philippines.
Head coach George Vilog said Adorna is just determined to win the gold for the Philippines this year.
“Bata pa lang si Claire may injury na siya. Pero nung bumalik nung triathlon, bumalik,” said Vilog, a silver medalist in the 2007 edition of the SEA Games.
Adorna was also emotional as she said the rest of the triathlon team had to sacrifice personally after undergoing months of training in Portugal.
“Lahat po ng pagod, kasama na po ‘yung malayo sa magulang, worth it lahat,” she said.