It will be a long jumper and a steeplechase who will represent the Philippines in the upcoming XXX Summer Olympiad.
Marestella Torres, a B standard qualifier, by virtue of her 6.71m jump last year at the SEA Games and Rene Herrera, a recipient of a wild card entry, will fly to London next month and try to bring honors to our tri-colors.
This is actually Torres’ second Olympiad as she setteld for 34th place at the 2008 Beijing Games with jumps of 4.27m-5.94m-6.17m.
Herrera, on the other hand, is a first time Olympian. He will be succeed Hector Begeo (1984 and 1988) and Eduardo Buenavista (2000) as the 3rd Olympic steeplechaser of the country.
In order to advance to the finals, Rene needs to dig deep and break Begeo’s national mark of 8:35.09. In order to advance to the finals at the Worlds or Olympics, one must submit a time that usually in the low 8:20s. Rene owns a personal best of 8:49.39 set 8 years ago.
Mare’ has the bigger chance of qualifying into the final round. Her SB of 6.62m is ranked 31st in the world as of June 7. With 7 Americans in front of her, Torres’ seeding should go up in the Olympics as only 3 athletes are allowed per event per country.
The last Pinoy to advance beyond the heats was Hector Begeo in 1988 at the steeplechase. It was in the semis where he set his still standing national record of 8:35.09.
Prior to that, Lydia de Vega and Isidro del Prado advanced to the quarters in their respective events during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Below are the summary of Filipino performance in athletics during the seven (7) Olympics (1984 to 2008).
Marestella Torres, Women’s Long Jump, 34 of 38 prelims, 4.27m/5.94m/6.17m
Henry Dagmil, Men’s Long Jump, 34 of 38 prelims, 7.58m/x/x
Eduardo Buenavista, Men’s Marathon, 67 of 81, 2:28:18
Lerma Gabito, Women’s Long Jump, 33 of 37, 6.31m/5.96m/6.13m,
Eduardo Buenavista, Men’s steeplechase, 14 of 14 heats, 37 of 39 overall, 9:13.71
Lerma Balauitan, Women’s 100m, 5 of 8 heats, 59 of 84, 12.08s
Elma Muros-Posadas, Women’s long jump, 13 of 25 6.04m
Roy Vence, Men’s Marathon, 100 of 111, 2:37:10 (13 runners DNF)
Hector Begeo, Men’s steeplechase, 11 of 11 heats, 9:14.48
Edward Lasquete, 14 of 15 qualification, Men’s Pole Vault, 5.00m
Herman Suizo, Men’s Marathon, 52 of 87, 2:25:18 (23 runners DNF)
Nenita Edan, Women’s 400m hurdles, 7 of 7 heats, 1:01.92s
Hector Begeo, Men’s steeplechase, 8 of 10 heats 8:46.60 / 12 of 12 semis 8:35.09
Agripina dela Cruz, Women’s 100m hurdles, 6 of 7 heats, 14.36s
Lydia de Vega, Women’s 100m, 6 of 8 heats, 11.67s
1984 Los Angeles
Hector Begeo, Men’s steeplechase, 10 of 12 heats, 8:53.70
Agrifina dela Cruz, Women’s 400m hurdles, 7 of 7 heats, 1:02.70
Isidro del Prado, Men’s 400m, 3 of 7 heats, 46.82s/ 8 of 8 quarters, 46.71s
Lydia de Vega, WOmen’s 100m, 6 of 8 heats, 11.85s/ 6 of 8 quarters, 11.97s
Lydia de Vega, Women’s 200m, 6 of 8 heats, 25.10s
Leonardo Illut, Men’s Marathon, 77 of 78, 2:49:39 (28 runners DNF)
Elma Muros Posadas, women’s long jump, 9 of 11 qualifications Group B, 5.57m / 5.64m /x
Photos courtesy of: asianfinest.com/ Isidro del Prado Sr/Hector Bego