Track and Field in the Philippines only gets a small chunk of the iceberg of talent available in the basketball crazy country, due to many obstacles such as: lack of funding, lack of high level domestic competitions and lack of high level coaching. For many youngsters, Athletics is a sport that is done during the college days and after which, the focus shifts to getting a job quickly.
Despite the aforementioned obstacles, we have this year, a bunch of young players, that may be considered the most talented in years, ready to be tapped for the Asian Junior Championships, which will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam May 1-4. Based on the results of the 2009 National Open Champs in Lingayen, 2009 University Games in Iloilo, 2010 UAAP, NCAA, CHED, and National Open Champs in Manila 2010, and the Palarong Pambansa 2010 in Tarlac. It is evident that some emerging talent are coming through the ranks. Which can be expected as the Philippines does have 89 million s inevitable even the tip of the iceberg will yield a fine generation of young athletes again.
Many of the athletes selected have already surpassed or are almost certain to surpass National Junior Records, make the top 8 at this meet or may even qualify for World Junior Championships.
Spearheading the line up is 18-year-old Serenata Saluan, whose phenomenal effort at the UAAP contributed a record-breaking seven gold medals. Saluan based on her recent performances is a medal prospect for the Asian Juniors, having broken the Junior 800m Record 4 times in the last 12 months. Her coach Manny Calipes predicts Saluan is not very far off breaking the Open National Record of 2m 7s.
Also providing strong competition in the middle distance event is Mervin Guarte of San Sebastian College who won 4 gold medals at the NCAA. Guarte must lower his time in the 800m from 1m 53s to 1m 51s to qualify for World Juniors.
Another promising athlete is the speedy teenager from Cebu, Lindley Franz Navaja who won the National Junior titles in the 200m (21.95) at Lingayen 2009, and 100m (10.84) in Manila 2010 (after finishing runner-up by a hairline in the previous 2 years). Navaja still has another year to challenge for the National Junior Records of 10.79 and 21.84.
List of the Best qualified Filipino Junior Athletes in Track and Field for 2010.
Lindley Franz Navaja (Cebu) (100m/200m), Junelle Gallebo (Ilocos) (100m/200m), Isidro Del Prado Jr. (Manila) (400m), Mervin Guarte (Oriental Mindoro) (800m/1500m), Patrick Unso (Manila) (110 Hurd), Jesson Ramil Cid (Tarlac) (Decathlon), Ivan Castaneda (Cebu) (Long Jump), Ernesto Ybanez (Cebu) (Triple Jump), Adel Valdecenas (Manila) (Pole Vault) 4×100 – Navaja, Gallebo, Del Prado Jr., Daniel Noval (Cebu)
Saraina Hedgepeth (Filams) (100m/200m), Hanelyn Loquinto (Romblon) (100m),Tahlie Cablayan (Filams) (400m), Blescie Mae Sanchez (Pangasinan) (200m/400m), Serenata Saluan (Mindanao) (800m/1500m), Felyn Doluso (Bacolod) (Triple Jump), Stephanie Cimatu (Ilocos) (Javelin), Gia Sucag (Cebu) (Javelin), Marla Felice Ellaga (Baguio) (High Jump), 4×100 – Hedgepeth, Loquinto, Rhemilyn Soriano (Ilocos), Sanchez. 4×400 – Hedgepeth, Cablayan, Sanchez, and Saluan.
Schedule for the Asian Juniors