The Philippine Athletics team failed to win a single medal at the recently concluded Asian Games. This will effectively extend the country’s medal drought in athletics for another 4 years. The last time the Philippines won an athletics medal in quadrennial games was in the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games courtesy of Elma Muros in the long jump.
This is not a surprise though as this blog predicted that none of our athletes, in this particular time, will win any medals. However, the manner that some athletes have competed were a bit surprising.
Lets review the performances of the athletes:
1. Archand Christian Bagsit and Edgardo Alejan.
Bagsit drew the fastest heat among 4 heats (Heat 2). The winner in his heat was Abbas Abubakar of Bahrain with 45.61 mark (who eventually won the silver). He towed 4 other qualifiers in his heat, including Bagsit who set a personal record of 46.88s. Bagsit, who was assigned at lane 7, actually came out 5th at the beginning of the final straight but worked his way to 4th and edged Mohamed of UAE in the last 10 meters. See his heat below:
Edgardo Alejan was grouped in heat 4 and registered a mark of 47.29s, the slowest among the 16 qualifers. The winner in his heat was Arokiarajiv of India who had a mark of 46.41s (who eventually won the bronze).
Both Bagsit and Alejan met our expectations by reaching the semis. See his heat below:
As we assess the future of the two, Bagsit is just 23 yrs old and should be in his prime for the next 5 years. Bagsit’s performance though is plateauing the last 2 years. I hope his training / workouts be given a second look by his coach. He should be at around 46.5s by now and should challenge 46.0s two years from now.
Alejan, who is just 28 years old, is still in his prime and in theory, should still improve on his PB of 46.96s with the right workouts. Alejan has the potential to lower his PB to 46.50 by next year.
If the two did not improve us such, PATAFA should look into their training workouts.
2. Henry Dagmil
Henry’s career has been revived after he reclaimed the SEA Games long jump title last 2013 with a massive leap of 7.80m. His 2014 best of 7.56m is good enough for the finals. However, his 3rd and final leap in the preliminaries only gave him 7.43m, short of 4 centimeters of the 8th qualifier Konstantin Safronov of Ukraine. Henry may have played in his last Asiad but we expect him to play out until the 2017 SEA Games where he has a chance to medal and retire on a high note.
We have expected Henry to qualify for the finals though he may settle at 8th place. An 11th place finish may not sit well for Henry and us as well. This is because at the back of our minds, he has the capability to barge into the finals.
Dagmil’s coach of two years, Arnold Villarube has done wonders for him though. We will be surprised if Dagmil will not win at least a silver in 2015 and a bronze in the 2017 SEA games.
3. Men’s 4x400m relay
The team of Archand Christian Bagsit, Edgardo Alejan, Julius Nierras and Isidro del Prado Jr was a letdown in registering a 3:11.67 mark finishing 6th in their heats of the 4x400m. Their heat was the slower of the two heats. Kazakhstan, who placed 3rd had a clocking of 3:09.92, half a second slower than the Philippines’s winning time at the 2013 SEA Games. Their mark was the slowest Philippine 4x400m team in any major regional meets like the SEA Games, Asian Games and Asian Athletics Championships since the 1980s. Their individual legs are as follows: Bagsit 46.4, Alejan 46.6, Nierras 47.9, del Prado 50.6 (all unofficial and was just handtimed using the video coverage).
We have two concerns over the handling of the team.
First is their performance. Collectively, they did not progress since their 3:09.32 winning mark at the 2013 SEA Games. Take away del Prado’s 50 second anchor leg this 2014 Asian Games and what you will see is still the same performance from leg 1 to leg 3 of the relay. What does that tell you as an athlete and a coach? Something’s wrong with their training. The athlete’s performances are not progressing. Individually, they should be progressing though. Bagsit is just 24 yrs old, Tilo has just turned 23, Alejan is still in his prime at 28. Only Nierras is above 30 yrs old at 35 but he should maintain at least 48.0s for his caliber and talent.
Second is the way they were assigned in their legs. Curiously, the Philippines went from strongest to weakest. Coaches sometimes do that if the team is so superior to other teams that they can experiment with combinations without sacrificing their team’s goal like winning a medal or qualifying to the next stage. In our case, we sent a team there not just to gain experience, but at least to give our best and qualify for the finals. A del Prado-Alejan-Nierras-Bagsit leg assignment might give us a different result and a slot at the finals of the 4x400m.
Sources: Wikipedia, GBRAthletics