KUALA LUMPUR—The Philippines, headed by teenage sprint phenom Cielo Honasan and seasoned powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta, rode on its eight-gold haul the day before by raking in five in the ninth ASEAN Para Games here.
Honasan, 15, blitzed her way to the 400-meter gold for T44 and T45 combined in 63.35 seconds to add to her mints in the 100m and 200m the previous days that underscored her status as the Games’ “Queen of the Tracks”.
She bested Thailand’s Gagun Pagjiraporn, who started out strong but fizzled in the end to settle for the silver in 66.41. Cambodian Vet Chanta won the bronze in 76.43.
Interestingly, Honasan, classified as T44, beat a higher classified runner in Pagjiraporn, who is a T45.
It was a scintillating performance by Honasan, a polio victim who was discovered competing in the regular event of the Palarong Pambansa, as she will go home as the newest face of the Philippines’s Para Games campaign.
Or you can call her the Lydia de Vega-Mercado of the Filipino Para athletes.
After her triumph, Honasan could only lay on her back and cried out of a combination of exhaustion and euphoria.
“I just couldn’t control my emotions, that’s why I cried,” said Honasan, who is set to receive a P150,000 for each gold she won as an incentive mandated by law.
Dumapong-Ancheta, one of the Filipino Para Games pioneers, for her part, continued to cast her mammoth shadow at the powerlifting competition as she captured the over 86-kilogra, gold with a lift of 116kg.
Indonesia’s Sriyanti and Malaysia’s Sharifah Raudzah Binti were reduced to ashes by Dumapong-Ancheta’s dominating effort by 105kg and 95kg, respectively.
Dumapong-Ancheta could have broken her record of 118kg but opted not to attempt anymore knowing she had achieved what she hoped for.
“I just want the gold, nothing else,” said the 43-year-old Dumapong-Ancheta, the country’s first Paralympic medal winner after taking home a bronze in Sydney 17 years ago.
Honasan’s mint was the Philippines’s eighth in centerpiece athletics, three more than the five it won in the 2015 Singapore staging. It was also the Philippines’s 16th gold overall on top of 17 silvers and 18 bronzes to matched its Singapore output.
Indonesia had virtually clinched the overall title with still two days to go after reaping 90 golds, 51 silvers and 36 bronze, fending off Malaysia’s bid to snatch it as the host country was stranded at No. 2 with a 68-63-51 (gold-silver-bronze) haul.
And the Philippines are expecting more today when it is expected to win more golds at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium and Hall 3 of the MITEC grounds where the chess team, spearheaded by double-gold medal winner Sande Severino, is eyeing to improve its three-gold collection.
The other three triumphs were provided for by three-wheeled sprinter Prudencia Panaligan, wheelchair-bound thrower Cendy Asusano and blind thrower Rosalie Terrefiel.
Panaligan nailed gold No. 15 after she reigned supreme in the 200m for T53/54 in 33.46, besting Thai Tpat Chatyotsakorn (33.93) and Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Xuan Anh (34.50).
Ruth Opena was fourth in 34.77.
Asusano, 27, heaved 14.06m to cop the discus throw gold for F54, besting Vietnam’s Tran Thi Tu with a 12.46m, who claimed the silver. Marites Burce grabbed the bronze with an 11.88 meters.
It was Asusano’s second gold after she ruled javelin for F54 and F55 combined Monday.
Malaysian Hemala Devi Eni Kutty, the gold winner in the last two Para Games edition, ended up with a silver with a 20.37m.
Jesebel Tordecilla added a bronze to her javelin silver by heaving 13.59m in the women’s discus throw for F55.
Over at the Dataran Putrajaya track, Arthus Bucay (C5) and Godfrey Taberna (C4) went hard for the gold but wound up with a silver each.
Bucay, a 36-year-old Paralympian who is coming off a golden effort in the individual time trial Wednesday and two more silvers in the one-kilometer track and 4000 individual pursuit days before, checked in with the same time as Zuhaire Bin Ahmad Tarmzi in 1:24.11 but lost via photo finish.
It was the same story for Taberna, who had the same clocking of 1:24.11 with Malaysian Mohd Najib Bin Turano and Indonesian Sufyan Saori but consoled himself with a silver. Turano took the gold while Saori the bronze.
After a two-gold harvest the day before, the Philippines National Anthem wasn’t played at the Aquatics Center in Bukit Jalil on Thursday as the Philippines settled for a pair of bronzes by Roland Sabido in the 100-meter backstroke for S9 and Gary Bejino in the 100m back for S7.