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Celebration of Philippine Athletics Team Victory for the 28th SEA Games

Powered by a blend of Filipino Heritage athletes and home-grown talents, the athletics team brought home a total of 21 medals, a stunning +62% improvement in a mere two years.

The magic number to beat was 13. That’s the number of total medals won by Philippines Athletics in the 2013 edition of the SEA Games.

With Veloci Time and L Timestudio's sponsorship, support, and having witnessed the “blood and sweat” performances of all our athletes during the 28th SEA Games 2015, a Victory party was held for #TeamPilipinas Athletics last June 17, 2015 at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay to share the highlights of their game, welcome them back home, and pat their back and honor the fruits of their training and performances.

The gold medals were hauled from the Hammer trow by Caleb John Christian Stuart, followed by Kayla Anise Richardson for the Womens 100-m dash. The double Gold medalist and double games record setter Eric Shaun Cray for the 100-m Dash and 400-m hurdles grabbed the 3rd and 4th gold medals, while Christopher Ulboc Jr. set in the 3,000-m Steeplechase heroic record on the last day of competition. With the +8 total medal improvements in SEA Games and these highlights of the Philippines Athletics team, the country eyes the upcoming Olympics and World Championship to be re represented by these young up-and-coming athletes.

PATAFA Pres. Philip Ella Juico: “Eric Cray is already qualified for the Olympics in Rio, and is ranked top 10 in the world in the 400 Hurdles”, said Juico. “This is a huge achievement to have a bona-fide qualifier from the Philippines. We are targeting to have perhaps 2-3 more before the 2016 Olympic Games open in Rio”.

If you have been following the 2015 SEA Games from the Media outlets, you would have noticed some Filipino-Foreigner contingents of our Philippine team. While this is no big matter for most of the People whose sole wish is to bring gold and glory for the Philippines, some would not even appreciate this goodness, does not even see the skills, and what kind of hard-work and discipline these Athletes went through to qualify for the SEA Games.

Now if you have read some weekly round up reviews (or even just the post title, like what I mostly do) prior to the SEA Games from by Mr. Pirie Enzo, you will learn that these athletes trained very well and are home-grown talents of the Country. They did not just suddenly sprout up during the competition, they joined many qualifying games and even broke national records prior to these Victorious wins from the 28th SEA Games.

Possible bets to make the cut before Rio 2016 Olympic Games and join Cray are young pole vaulter Ernest John "EJ" Obiena, who continues to smash the national record on a monthly basis; and 2-time Olympian Marestella Torres in long jump.

The victories of Cray and Kayla Richardson anointed the Philippines as "The speed capital of Southeast Asia". “It was a shocking performance and we overtook traditional sprinting powers Vietnam and Thailand”, Juico stated. “Never in the history of the SEA Games have we taken the sprint crown in both men’s and women’s 100 meters.”

Despite these achievements, the athletics team did not go without heartbreak from the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, with several prior champions failing to again attain the gold medal. Most notable among these athletes was Jason Ramil Cid in Decathlon, Archand Bagsit in 400 meters, and Marestella Torres in Long Jump. But for PATAFA President Philip Ella Juico, a podium finish is what matters. “Whilst some may be focused solely on Gold Medals, we are not. This is sports. Sometimes there is an injury. Sometimes a fraction of a second means the difference between Gold and Silver. We must be wise and celebrate the achievement and not nit-pick. In 3 races we had photo finishes and we got the silver in all 3. Give us another tenth of a second we would have 3 more gold medals”, says Juico.

The silver medals were brought home by EJ Obiena for the 5.25-m Pole Vault; Jesson Ramil Cid - Decathlon; Mary Joy Tabal - Marathon Women's; Kayla Anise Richardson - Women's 200-m; Mervin Guarte for the 800-m and 1,500-m; and the 4x400-m team of Archand Christian Bagsit, Edgardo Alejan Jr., Ryan Bigyan, and Joan Caido.

Another notable Philippine representative is the 34-years old Marestella Torres, who, although was not able to jump for the gold, but worthy of applause from her come back after having a now 1-year old baby. She "qualified and medaled in her event, and was only beaten by two world class jumps by the Vietnamese and Indonesian, both breaking their national records. It required national record jumps, a perfect day, to beat her. Marestella is a tribute to mothers everywhere who combine motherhood with excellence in other facets of life. She is a hero for getting onto that podium” says Juico.

Long jumper Mom Marestella Torres with Ms. Abet Ocampo
Bronze medalists also brought additional 9 medals to the tally from Marestella Torres for the long jump; Janry Unbas - Decathlon; Rosie Villarito - Javelin Throw; Riezel Buenaventure - 3.60-m Pole Vault; Patrick Ma. Unso - 110-m hurdles; Narcisa Atienza - Heptathlon; Donovant Arriola Jr. - long jump; Edgardo Alejan Jr. - 400-m; and Jessica Lyn Barnard for the 3,000-m Steeplechase.

A +62% medal improvement is a major step-change and makes athletics one of the bright spots of the Philippines performance. If all NSAs had achieved a similar result, the country would have won a total of 155 medals and finished a few notches higher. In the end, Philippines attained only 125 medals.

To cap off the victory party, the athletes took a cake-cutting ceremony and photo-op. The cake was specially made by the pastry Chef of Marriott Hotel

For Veloci Time and L Timestudio, the intense speed, breathtaking jumps and powerful throws that were unleashed with the hope of attaining glory for our country, they will continue to extend their support with the hope of uplifting our athletes. There were victorious moments and there were unsuccessful attempts. But the remarkable effort of each athlete as they fought for a triumphant finish is what really matters.

Mr. Roy Chua - Veloci Time Philippines President
with Women's Marathon Silver Medalist and Cebuana Ms. Mary Joy "Tabby" Tabal (photo by: Running Photographers)
with Ms. Katherine Khay Santos - a University of Baguio student and 4th Place for Women's long jump
Abs Showdown
Veloci-Powered #TeamPilipinas
L-R: Judith Staples(L Timestudio/Veloci); Sportscasters Anthony Suntay and Chino Trinidad; and Ms. Rochelle Romero (L Timestudio)

You may check other photos of the medalists from Veloci's Facebook album.

To the Philippine Athletics Team, you are all HEROES. WE SALUTE YOU!

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