Swimmer Otom, chesser Severino shine for Team PH

August 5, 2022 People's Tonight 148 views

SURAKARTA – Swimmer Angel Otom and chesser FM Sander Severino stood out as their two sports combined for six golds in boosting the country to one of its best finishes in the 11th ASEAN Para Games here Thursday.

Otom had pair of mints in pacing the para swimmers to four golds at the Jatadiri Sports Complex pool in Semarang and then Severino anchored once again the men’s squad to a sweep of the men’s P1 team and individual rapid event at the Lo-rin Hotel grand ballroom here.

The limbless Pinay mermaid now boasts of three golds while Severino boosted his collection to four as the PH para-athletes totalled 21 golds, 19 silver and 37 bronzes in the afternoon to surpass their 20-20-29 tally in the 10th edition held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2017.

“Today is a great day for our para-athletes, who have surpassed our previous best in Kuala Lumpur. I would like to offer this as a tribute to the late President Fidel V. Ramos, who urged us to form our group for para athletes way back in 1996,” Barredo said from Manila.

“My hope is that we also surpass our finish of fifth overall in the medal standings with some more events remaining,” Barredo said.

It was also the country’s best finish since it scooped up 24 golds in the 2009 edition in Kuala Lumpur.

Picking up from where she left off, Otom was a runaway winner in the women’s 50-meter butterfly S5 event in 48.070 seconds, nearly eight seconds faster than the 17-year-old mark of 56.80 set by Singapore’s R.T. Goh in the Manila ASEAN Para Games in 2005.

She finished so far ahead of Vietnamese tankers Thi Sari Nguyen and Thi My Thanh Dan, who were second and third in times of 1:14.150 and 1:32.460, respectively.

As an encore, the 19-year-old pride of Olongapo City added her second mint in the women’s 50-meter freestyle S5 event, leading the way from start to finish in clocking 41.40 seconds, much to the delight of her parents Marlou and Mila Otom, who flew all the way from Manila just to watch their daughter perform.

“I am so happy but it has not sunk in yet that I am the country’s first triple gold medalist,” said Otom of her outstanding achievement as a rookie in the biennial sportsfest.

“Iba po talaga na makita namin na manalo ang anak naming si Angel. Ito po pala ang feeling nananalo ang anak namin,” chorused Otom’s parents in witnessing their daughter see action for the first time.

Ernie Gawilan scooped up his second gold medal in topping the men’s 200-meter individual medley SM7 in record-breaking fashion as well in 2:49.530, sinking the 14-year-old mark of 4:00.02 by Salungyoo Rawin of Thailand in the 2008 Bangkok Games.

A pleasant surprise was rookie Marco Tinamisan, who won the swimming team’s fourth mint in topping the men’s 50-meter freestyle S3 event in 54.660 seconds in the outing supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.

Over at the Manahan Stadium, wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan secured his second gold in ruling the men’s 400-meter T5 race in 1:06.20 while teammate Rodrigo Potiotan Jr. finished third but did not get a medal since there were only three entries in the event (1:09.870).

Gary Bejino lost by a touch to Thailand’s Aekkharin Noithatto and settled for a silver in the men’s 50m butterfly S6 event in 35.440 seconds to the former’s 35.300 seconds before securing another silver in the men’s 50m freestyle (34.40).

The duo of Russel Cundangan and Mary Ann Taguinod likewise took the silver in the J1-J2 women’s team event of judo.

Also contributing a pair of silvers was 2000 Sydney Paralympic bronze medalist Adeline Dumapong Ancheta in the women’s +86-kilogram division of powerlifting.