Husband sets aside own athletic career to help Marestella Torres book ticket to Rio
Former national athlete Eliezer Sunang is content to be a trainer to his wife Marestella Torres and a doting father to their son. Reuben Terrado

ELIEZER Sunang proudly declares his willingness to do everything — including baby-sitting their child — just so his wife, long jumper Marestella Torres, can realize her dream of qualifying for the Rio De Janeiro Olympics.

A former member of the Philippine national shotput team, the 30-year-old Sunang is now helping train his wife who is making a last-ditch effort to surpassing the Olympic standard of 6.70 meters and book a ticket to Rio.

Because of this commitment, Sunang said that he is not in tip-top shape for the National Open where he has a 15.31-meter effort, still good for a gold medal but way below his personal best and national record of 16.72 meters.

“Masaya naman ako na nanalo ako kahit hindi ganun ka-impressive,” said Sunang. “Mas gusto ko siyempre ‘yung 16 na tapon ko dati. Hindi ko nagawa dahil na rin sa hindi ako nakakapagensayo.”

“Naka-focus kasi ako nag-aassist kay Maris (Torres’ nickname). Ako ‘yung tumutulong sa kanya sa workout niya sa gym. Kung inaalalayan ko siya sa gym, hindi ako maka-focus sa training ko. Pero okay lang yun kasi hindi ko naman siya puwedeng iwan. Hinahayaan ko na lang ‘yung akin,” he added.

The bid of the 35-year-old Torres for the Olympics came two years after she gave birth to their son Eliemar. Sunang said that because Torres is preoccupied with her training for the Olympics, he also spends most of his time taking care of their only child, instead of his own athletic career.

Not that he's complaining.

“Sacrifice lang talaga,” Sunang said. “Palitan kami pero ako ‘yung nag-fo-focus sa pag-aalaga sa kanya. Hindi rin kasi mabuhat ni Maris kasi malikot saka mabigat kaya ako na ‘yung parang yayo.”

Sunang said their son is a source of joy for the couple, and their kid also inspires and recharges them in the middle of their hectic training regimen.

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“Masaya naman ako kapag nakikita ko na malikot siya. Mas maganda nga ‘yung malikot kesa ‘yung tahimik na may sakit,” said Sunang.

Torres came just centimeters away from breaking the Olympic barrier after she leaped 6.60 meters in the Philippine National Open Invitational Athletics Championship. Sunang said it will be a joy for the couple if Torres makes it to the Olympics for the third straight time.

“’Yun ang target namin. Kung magawa niya ‘yun, masaya na ako kasi iisa lang naman kami. Mag-asawa kami. Masaya na ako. ‘Yun naman ang sinasabi niya na kahit matanda na raw siya, feeling niya bata pa rin siya,” said Sunang.

Sunang is also glad to see Torres prove her critics wrong after her lackluster showing in the Philippine National Games where her best jump was 6.13 meters.

“Nagawa naman niya. Nakatalon siya ng 6.60. ‘Yung iba, ‘yung mga inggit lang siguro o ‘yung mga basher, sinasabi tsamba lang daw. Paano maging tsamba eh tumalon siya ng 6.52 at 6.60. Hindi tsamba ‘yun. Ginawa talaga niya,” said Sunang.

Sunang hopes that all the hardwork and sacrifice they put in will soon bear fruit for Torres.

“Hinahayaan ko lang si Maris mag-training. Kapag maganda ‘yung ipakita niya, magiging proud ako,” he said.

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