INCHEON, Korea — Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (Patafa) chief Philip Ella Juico does not regret making a gold medal prediction for long jumper Marestella Torres in the Asian Games.
Torres fell way below expectations as he fouled in all her three jumps to quickly end her highly-touted campaign in the Asiad.
Juico said it was Torres herself who indicated that topping the long jump is a possibility.
“She was very confident, sabi niya sa akin. That’s good. It’s a very positive attitude, hindi ’yung sasabihin lang niya na, ‘Susubukan ko.’ But that’s the nature of the sport. May technical error, tinamaan ‘yung foul line ng tatlong beses. Hindi ka basta-basta dito. There’s precision and strength,” said Juico.
“Parang golf na pala ito na you need precision by millimeters and centimeters. In sports, we will always be greeted with surprises,” said Juico.
Maria Natalia Londa of Indonesia won the gold with a leap of 6.55 meters.
Torres had recorded 6.45m this year in Singapore and had posted a career best of 6.71m, although that was in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games.
“We accept and we look forward to the next plan,” said the former Philippine Sports Commission chairman.
Torres and trackster Jesson Cid were the beneficiaries of an ‘Adopt-an-Olympian’ program where private sponsors support athletes’ training. Juico said P117,000 is being spent monthly for each of the two.
Patafa now hopes to see Torres qualify for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
“We are aiming for the stars para kung mahulog man tayo, at least sa sampayan,” said Juico with a smile.