Southeast Asia’s long jump queen Marestella Torres already sees a protégé in Katherine Santos, bronze medalist in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games.
“Nakikita ko na siya na ang susunod sa akin,” Torres said in an interview over Sports Radio 918. “Laging sinasabi sa akin na bago ako mag-retire na humanap muna ng kapalit. Siya na ang future.”
The 21-year-old Santos quickly made an impact in her first SEA Games stint by capturing the bronze medal with a leap of 6.25 meters.
“Kabado ako dahil ito ang una kong SEA Games. Pero at least na-beat ko ‘yung personal record ko,” said Santos.
Santos was a perennial gold medalist for University of Baguio in PRISAA meets and was recruited to the national team after the Philippine National Games.
The Philippine team in the long jump has a rich history in the SEA Games.
Elma Muros-Posadas had a long reign in the SEA Games and even tallied a Games record in 1989 in Kuala Lumpur with a jump of 6.52 meters.
After Muros retired, it was Lerma Balauitan-Gabito who took the reigns and claimed the gold in the 2003 Vietnam games.
Then, Torres took charge stealing the gold from Balauitan-Gabito in the 2005 SEA Games and has never relinquished the gold ever since. She even shattered Muros’ record in 2009 with a leap of 6.68 meters, then leaped 6.71 meters in this year’s SEA Games to break her own mark.