Controversial Philippine Track and Field Association head Go Teng Kok expressed confidence that the national athletics team is capable of winning at least six gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia in November.
Setting aside the differences and hurdles they are facing at the moment, Go mentioned reigning SEA Games long jump queen Marestella Torres, marathon king Eduardo Buenavista, javelin throwers Rosie Villarito and Danilo Fresnido, hammer thrower Arniel Ferreira, and steeplechaser Rene Herrera among athletes who are certain to dominate their respective events once again.
All six were part of the team that won seven gold medals for the Philippines in the 2009 edition of the SEA Games in Laos.
According to the outspoken sports leader, no one has yet to surpass the times and records set by the aforementioned athletes, and Go is certain that they will be heavy favorites to clinch the coveted gold medals.
“Our veteran athletes are still strong enough to compete, although Patafa is still in some kind of transition period,” said Go in the PSA Forum at Shakey’s UN Avenue on Monday.
“One by one nagre-retire na yung ibang atleta natin, but we have young talents right now which we hope would perform well in the next SEA Games,” he added.
Go mentioned Junrey Bano (400-meter hurdles) and the 4×400 meter relay team of Bano, Christian Bagsit, Edgardo Alejan and veteran Julius Nierras among potential gold medalists in the future.
Go added that he considers long jump specialist Henry Dagmil and defending women’s marathon champion Jho-An Banayag as possible dark horses in this year’s SEA Games.
Banayag will be up against Indonesian bet Triyaningsih, the so-called `super woman’, who is entered in three events of marathon, 5,000-m, and 10,000-m.
Triyaningsih was a gold medalist in the 5,000 and 10,000-m events in the SEA Games two years ago, and registered a time of 2 hours and 31 minutes during the marathon event of the Guangzhou Asian Games last year, better than the 2 hour, 46-minute golden time of Banayag.
“Although naniniwala ako na hindi ito makukuha. Imagine she will be running in three events in a week’s time,” said Go.