PHNOM PENH—The Philippines secured its 28th gold medal from javelin thrower Andrei Kuizon and is now poised to eclipse its previous showing in the ASEAN Para Games.
Kuizon, a 22-year-old Pampanga native plucked out of the wheelchair basketball team, took the mint after organizers decided to separate the winners of his F54 class from F34 as the Philippines matched its golden haul last year in Surakarta, Indonesia.
The reigning shot put gold winner was initially awarded the silver Wednesday with a 19.03-meter heave with Vietnamese Vivan Tung, seizing the mint with a 21.33m heave at the Morodok Techo National Stadium
That was until fate intervened to hand the wonder thrower from Las Pinas, a protégée of former national team member Nixon Mas, his second gold.
“Nag-decide ang TIC (organizer) ibigay ang gold kay Andrei. Meron na kami papel na pinadala nila na nagpapatunay at nakuha na din namin gold medal niya,” said national track and field assistant coach Bernard Bren, speaking in behalf of head coach Joel Deriada.
Kuizon’s triumph thus capped a spectacular performance by the 23-strong athletics squad as it finished with a 10-gold, 10-silver and 11-bronze harvest that surpassed its 6-4-14 effort a year ago.
It also put the whole Philippine Para team in a position to eclipse its 28-30-46 performance in Surakarta as it currently has a 28-31-39 harvest at press time.
It will now boil down to the country’s entries in chess, badminton and table tennis, which have still ongoing events at press time.
But it is more likely that it would come from the Filipino woodpushers, who have accounted for a whoppingseven mints from rapid and standard events—four from Darry Bernardo in the men’s B2B3 class and three from Cheyzer Mendoza in the women’s PI section.
After three of the six-round blitz chess action, four Filipino players—Bernardo, Mendoza, Arman Subaste (B2B3), Henry Lopez (men’s PI) and Francis Ching (men’s B1)—were currently at solo first place or tied for it.
In swimming at the Morodok Aquatics Center, Gary Bejino and Marco Tinamisan settled for a pair of silver medal finishes in the 100m freestyle S6 and S4, respectively.
Bejino, who captured two gold medals in record-breaking fashions entering the final day of pool competition, clocked a minute and 15.09 seconds in ending up behind eventual gold medalist Auyng Myint Myat of Myanmar, who timed in 1:14.90.
For Tinamisan, it was a bittersweet effort as he checked in at 1:47.45 in finishing behind Vietnam’s Danh Hoa’s 1:36.23.