The 1st Asiad: The 1951 Asian Games

TFA Cover

The cover of The Filipino Athlete Magazine, May 1951 edition featuring high jumper Andres Franco and the basketball team led by “The Fox” and “The Big Difference”.

Two (2) days before the start of the athletics program at the 2014 Asian games, let’s travel in time and review the Philippines’ s performance during the 1st Asian Games in 1951.

The games were rightfully held in New Delhi, India, the land of Mr. G.D. Sondhi, the person who really pushed for the realization of the quadrennial meet. The same breathe as the efforts of Baron Pierre de Coubertin who’s efforts yielded the Modern Olympics in 1896.

The Philippines sent 2 weightlifters, 12 basketball players, 8 swimmers and 9 track and field athletes.  They were accompanied by 4 officials, they were: Director Benito Pangilinan, Head of the delegation, Dr. Regino Ylanan, Business manager and Track & Field coach, Prof. Candido Bartolome, swimming coach and Dionisio Calvo, basketball coach.

The track and field team brought home four (4) medals with a 1-0-3, gold-silver-bronze tally. The following were the medalists:

1. Running High Jump, Andres Franco (1.93m), Gold

2. Discuss Throw, Aurelio Amante (38.14m), bronze

3. Mens 4x100m team, (Genaro Cabrera, Tito Almagro, Jovencio Ardina, Bernabe Lovina),43.9, bronze

4. Mens’ 4x400m team, (Bienvenido Llaneta, Bernabe Lovina, Tomas Bennet, Genaro Cabrera), 3:35.8, bronze

Below were the performances of the rest of the track and field team:

a. Genaro Cabrera, 200m, 5th finals/ 100m, 6th finals

b. Tito Almagro, 200m, heats

c. Artemio  Cortes, Shotput, 4th finals/ Discuss throw, 6th finals

d. Bernabe Lovina, 400m, 6th finals

e. Jovencio Ardina, 100m H, 4th finals


Results of the Track and Field events at the 1951 Asian Games


Results of the Track and Field & Swimming of the 1951 Asian Games


Over at weightlifting, Pedro Landero brought home a bronze at the bantamweight division with a total lift of 615 lbs.  Rodrigo del Rosario brought home a silver at featherweight division with a total lift of 645 lbs.  The weight lifters had a 0-1-1 medal tally.


At swimming, 7 of the 8 SWIMMERS brought home individual medals, with the 8th member, had 2 medals at the relays.  Mohammed Mala was the most bemedalled with 3 individual medals and 1 relay.  Below are the performances of our athletes:

1. Sotero Alcantara, 100m freestyle, 1:04.8, bronze

2. Mohammed Mala, 400m freestyle, 5:31.4, silver/ 1500m freestyle, 22:17.5, silver/ 800m freestyle, 11:30.7, bronze

3. Serafin Villanueva, 1500m freestyle, 22:21.7, bronze/ 800m freestyle, 11:25.5, silver

4. Jacinto Cayco, 200m backstroke, 2:54.4, gold

 5. Rene Amabuyok, 200m backstroke, 2:54.8, silver

6. Artemio Salamat, 100m backstroke, 1:16.3, gold

7. Edilberto Bonus, 100m backstroke, 1:17.4, bronze

8. 3x100m medley (Artemio Salamat, Jacinto Cayco, Nurhatab Rajab), 3:43.6, gold

9. 4x100m freestyle (Nurhatab Rajab, Mohammad Mala, Serafin Villanueva, Sotero Alcantara), 4:23.2, silver

Total medal haul of the swimming team was 3-5-4.


And of course, the basketball team were crowned champions.  The line were: Lauro Mumar, Luis Lorenzo, Francisco Calilan, Antonio Martinez, Jose Gochongco, Andres dela Cruz, Meliton Santos, Genaro Fernandez, Mariano Tolentino, Ignacio Ramos, Rafael Hechanova and Carlos Loyzaga.

Total medal haul of the Philippines was 5-6-8.  Below was the final standings of the countries (courrtesy of Wikipedia) participated in the 1951 games:

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Japan (JPN) 24 21 15 60
2  India (IND) 15 16 20 51
3  Iran (IRI) 8 6 2 16
4  Singapore (SIN) 5 7 2 14
5  Philippines (PHI) 5 6 8 19
6  Ceylon (CEY) 0 1 0 1
7  Indonesia (INA) 0 0 5 5
8  Burma (BIR) 0 0 3 3
Total 57 57 55 169

 Note: Bronze medals were not awarded in the water polo and team pursuit at cycling.

 Sources: The Filipino Athlete publication, May 1951 edition/ Wikipedia

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