Vintage PH Open show from Martes
ILAGAN CITY—Track legend Christabel Martes of Team Baguio turned back the hands of time as she delivered a vintage performance in the opening blast of the 2017 Ayala Philippine National Open Invitational Athletics Championships Thursday at the Ilagan City Sports Complex here.
A two-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, the 37-year-old Martes copped the gold medal in the women’s 10,000-meter run, putting her in a perfect position to revive her glorious national team career that was dotted with a handful of golden finishes and unforgettable performances in the international arena.
She registered 38 minutes and 40.52 seconds, while Jho-An Villarma of Philippine Army and Miscell Gilbuena of Philippine Air Force settled for the silver and bronze medals with 40:20.58 and 42:43.75, respectively.
Also making a strong performance in the first day of this prestigious tourney that is presented by the City of Ilagan and sponsored by Ayala Corporation with Milo, Philippine Sports Commission and International Amateur Athletics Federation as co-presentors were Albert Mantua of RP Team-City of Ilagan, Immuel Camino of Philippine Air Force and Christian Dave Geraldino of Mapua.
Mantua, who is being handled by noted thrower Arniel Ferrera, tallied 14.90 meters to win the gold in the men’s shot put event while Ronmols Andawa of Jose Rizal University claimed the silver with a distance of 14.14 meters and Cris Paulo Haluber of Mapua punched the bronze with a mark of 12.13 meters.
On the same note, Camino, a product of Arellano University, edged SEA Games’ two-time gold medalist Christopher Ulboc as he clocked 9:33.65 to win the gold in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase while Jomar Angus of RP Team-City of Ilagan (9:50.17) and Ike Jumao-as of Mapua (9:54.22) settled for the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Ulboc, who ruled the event in the 2013 and 2015 biennial meet, was forced to withdraw from the race after aggravating his right thigh strain.
Geraldino was also impressive as he registered 1.89 meters to snatch the gold in the boys’ high jump event, while Ryan Teo of Singapore (1.86) and Gilbert Codera of San Beda (1.80) claimed the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Felisberto de Jesus of Timor Leste was the lone foreign bet, who made took home a gold medal in the morning action of Day 1 of this four-day battle as he registered 9:45.83 to rule the boys’ 3,000-meter steeplechase.
But still, the day belonged to Martes.
After going into semi-retirement to run her baking business and take care of her 10-year-old daughter, Martes stormed out of her abode in the City of Pines to chase a slot in the national team that will see action in the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur this August.
Her performance, in fact, was so impressive that she was able to overlap at least one competitor while an elite runner in former marathon queen Villarma was left struggling to keep pace.
“I was leading right from the start so I just maintained my pace,” said Martes, who still holds the national record of 34:40.3 in the women’s 10,000-meter run that she tallied also in this event in 2001.
Martes, who won the gold in the 2001 and 2005 SEA Games before going into hiatus in 2009, said she can still compete at a higher level and maybe give reigning marathon queen Mary Joy Tabal a serious run for her money in a 42-kilometer race.
Tabal competed in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics last year, but opted to relinquish her spot in the national squad to concentrate on competing in commercial races in Cebu.
“I can still make it to the national team for as long as I can sustain my training. It al depends on how I can maintain my conditioning,” she said. “I have good chance to compete in the 42-kilometer event in the SEA Games given the right training and conditioning.”
“It all depends on how much I will train.”