Arafura Games: Pinoy bets deliver

April 27, 2019
Kate Diaz
DIAZ: Silver medalist in a field of two weightlifters.

DARWIN, Australia – In a big day for Team Philippines, Filipino athletes won three gold medals as the 2019 Arafura Games got underway on Saturday.

Abigail Manzano delivered the country's first victory, ruling the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase while Bruce Pernia topped the javelin throw, and Nicko Caparoso made it a sweep in the 3,000-meter steeplechase when he ruled the men’s event.

The first medalist for the PH contingent was weightlifter Kate Diaz, who settled for the silver medal in her event after only two entries were allowed to see action.

The 15-year-old Diaz lifted 115 kilograms after tallying 50 kilograms in the snatch and 65 kilograms in the clean and jerk in the women’s 45kg division to give the country a silver in Day 1 of the Philippine campaign here supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and Standard Insurance.

Shi Yue Shan of Chinese Taipei won the gold after lifting 120 kilograms following a 53 in the snatch and 67 in the clean and jerk.

Diaz said it was a learning experience for her after she fell short of a gold for failing to lift 70 kilograms in her second and third attempt in the clean and jerk.

“Siguro may reason si God na ginawa niya ito para hindi ako ‘yung parang may kumpiyansa lang na manalo. Hindi kesyo ito lang, ‘yan na lang, hindi ka na magpo-focus. Natutunan ko talaga na kahit anong mangyari, nandoon ‘yung focus at hindi mawawala sa concentration,” said Diaz, who is eyeing a stint in this year’s Southeast Asian Games.

Diaz and Shi competed for the gold after about 30 weightlifters from across all weight categories failed to compete for not submitting the Anti-Doping Administration and Management Systems (ADAMS), a document now required by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

Athletes from athletics and swimming are still competing for a medal as of press time.

Meanwhile, the Philippine muay team will see action today (Sunday) at the Darwin Convention Centre with Jenelyn Olsim opening the squad’s campaign in the senior female elite A -54kg semifinals.

Phillip Delarmino and Ryan Jakiri will also compete in the men’s -57kg and -63kg respectively, while Ariel Lampacan will battle in the -54kg division in the next few days.

National coach Billy Alumno said the Arafura Games muay competition is a qualifier for the 2021 World Games in which the gold medalists in the -57kg and -63kg class will automatically clinch a berth in the World Games.