Long jumper Marestella Torres inches closer to Olympic standard with golden leap
Marestella Torres beat two Malaysian bets for the National Open gold with a leap of 6.60 meters, just 0.10 short of the Olympic qualifying mark for the Rio Games. AP

MARESTELLA Torres closed in on the Olympic standard with her gold-medal winning performance in the women’s long jump of the Philippine National Open Invitationals on Thursday at the Philsports track oval.

Torres responded to the critics of her stint in the Philippine National Games by beating two Malaysian bets for the gold with a leap of 6.60 meters, 0.10 short of the Olympic qualifying mark for the Rio Games.

Torres made the gold-medal winning jump on the fifth attempt.

“Masayang masaya ako at least nandoon na ako at dumikit na,” said Torres in an interview over DZSR Sports Radio. “After this, may mga competition pa. May chance pa.”

Going for her third Olympic berth, Torres expressed satisfaction with her performance despite receiving flak from sports officials after jumping only 6.13 meters during the PNG in Lingayen, Pangasinan last month.

Torres played down her dismal performance in the PNG, saying she was simply pacing herself for the National Open.

“Alam naman namin na wala kaming kalaban dun. Mga kalaban namin, mga bata. Kumbaga nag-participate lang kami. Tuluy-tuloy naman ang training namin kasi ang target namin is ‘yung National Open," Torres pointed out.

“Nag-invite ng foreigners sa National Open so mas maganda ‘yung competition. Mas motivated kami. Kailangan impressive ‘yung performance,” she added.

Torres also declined to fire back at her critics, confident that she can reach the Olympic standard, which is just .01 better than her personal best of 6.71 meters.

“’Yun muna gusto ko mangyari. Gawin muna, bago magsalita,” said Torres.

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