A LOT of Filipino athletes went to battles in several fronts in Day 4 of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia yesterday.
Too bad, they returned to the Team Philippines’ barracks with many of them wounded, others in body bags.
So the PH team looked like a family in mourning again as gold medal proved elusive once more, with the gymnastics, karate and athletics squads suffering heart-breaking defeats to the chagrin of Filipino officials who had looked forward to having another golden day.
The dry day meant giving up hope of winning 50 golds, the team’s target before leaving for this bustling capital which officials hope will be kinder to them as they try to improve on their shameful sixth-place overall finish two years ago in Singapore.
Going into the final week of the biennial meet, the Filipinos have only eight wins to show as of 7 last night, good for sixth place and still way off the 29 golds they captured the last time.
In their biggest showing so far, the Filipinos won five golds courtesy of the gymnastics, fencing and wushu squads as they got a fair share of the 45 golds that went up for grabs on a busy Tuesday.
Yesterday, the guns fell silent again.
Gymnasts Kaitlin de Guzman and Reyland Capellan missed sustaining their hot performances, karatekas John Paul Bejar and Mae Soriano fell short and veteran Arnel Ferrera ended his career in hammer throw on a sad note.
De Guzman, the winner of the floor exercise on Tuesday, returned to the floor to capture a silver and a bronze medals as she became the most bemedalled Filipino athlete halfway through the two-week long showpiece.
The Texas-raised de Guzman, only 17, settled for runnerup honors in the floor exercise (13.025 points) and third place in the balance beam (12.3 points) as she followed up her triumph in the same event won by proud mother a long time ago.
“I’m so happy. It really feels good to represent the country and duplicate what my mom achieved in the past,” said Kaitlin, her face a picture of joy as teammates and fans congratulated her after her awarding rites.
Her teammate and fellow gold medalist -- Capellan -- won the bronze in the men’s artistic gymnastics, a day after ruling the vault event.
Bejar had the chance to win his event, gaining the finals of the men’s 55-kilogram kumite only to fall in the match that mattered most as he lost to hard-hitting Iwan Bidu Sirait of Indonesia.
Ferrera fell short in his event, registering a heave of 55.94 meters in his sixth attempt to settle for the bronze medal and missing to leave the sport for good in a blaze of glory.
“Sayang,” said Ferrera, sad and lost for words.
It’s going to be a busy Thursday for the PH contingent.
Three boxers -- bantam Mario Fernandez, middle John Marcial and light-heavy Marvin John Tupas -- fight for the golds as the well-financed, well-travelled squad tries to contribute something in the Philippine cause.
First to climb the ring in search for a record third straight gold medal win is Mario Fernandez, who goes up against Chatchai Butdee who team officials said is no longer new to the Filipino fighter.
Marcial, who won in the 2011 Junior world tilt as a flyweight, takes on another Thai in Pathomsak Kuttiya while Tupas will round out PH’s campaign when he battles hometown hero Adli Hapidz Bin Mohd Fauzi.
And there’s the popular but under-achieving women’s volleyball squad which will make its debut against Malaysia
(With reports from the PSC Pool Team)