Filipino long jumper Marestella Torres is forced to measure up against some very high standards. After all, she competes in the same event as two-time Olympian and former long jump queen Elma Muros-Posadas.
Muros-Posadas won a total of 14 gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games, not just in the long jump but also in other events like the hurdles, heptathlon and even the women’s 200m. She represented the country in the long jump twice in the Olympics — in Los Angeles in 1984 and Atlanta in 1996.
Perhaps Muros-Posadas’ discovery of her eventual successor, Torres, to the national team should also be added to the former track and field star’s glowing legacy.
“Sa national team, ni-recruit ako ni Elma Muros sa Palarong Pambansa,” said Torres. “Napanood niya siguro ako.”
The 31-year-old San Jose, Negros Oriental native has lived up to the legacy. She has won the women’s long jump event in the SEA Games four consecutive times. She has also done well in the Asian Athletics Championships, winning a silver medal in 2005 and a gold in 2009.
Torres is now in her second Olympics after participating in the Beijing Games four years ago, and will be looking to top her earlier performance. She jumped a 6.17 in 2008, a far cry from her personal-best of 6.71 meters, which set in the SEA Games in Indonesia last year. The gold medal jump was both a Philippine and a SEA Games record.
Her first stint in the Olympics saw her place 34th in the competition where only the top-12 advance from the qualifying round to the final. Matching her personal-best would have placed her 3rd in the qualifiers in Beijing, which means there could be a chance of her making the final if she can approach or even break her personal mark in London.
The gold medal-winning jump in Beijing, though, was a 7.04 by Brazil’s Maurren Higa Maggi. The silver was won by Russia’s Tatyana Lebedeva, who posted a 7.03.
But Torres remains hopeful of her chances when she takes the field in London.
“Actually, pagdating naman sa laban, lahat may chance eh,” said Torres. “Malalaman na lang pag naglaban kami.”
Catch Marestella Torres in action on Wednesday, August 8 beginning 2 a.m. on AKTV
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