Swimmer Otom becomes 1st PH triple gold medalist in 11th ASEAN Para Games
Pinay swimmer Angel Otom bagged two more gold medals, including one in record-breaking time, to emerge as the country’s first triple gold medalist in the 11th ASEAN Para Games Thursday.
This came as the Philippine para swimmers emerged with four mints from the Jatidiri Sports Complex pool in Semarangin in Surakarta.
Otom was the runaway winner in the women’s 50-meter butterfly S5 event in 48.070 seconds, nearly 8 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 far ahead of Vietnamese tankers Thi Sari Nguyen and Thi My Thanh Dan, who were second and third with times of 1:14.150 and 1:32.460, respectively.
The 19-year-old pride of Olongapo City then 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 jubilation of her parents Marlou and Mila Otom, who flew all the way from Manila just to watch their daughter compete.
“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 sports fest.
“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.
Otom’s first gold medal came from dominating the women’s 50-meter backstroke with a time of 41.68 seconds.
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, topping the men’s 50-meter freestyle S3 event in 54.660 seconds.
Over at the Manahan Stadium, wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan secured his second gold by 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.
With the combined 5 gold medals of athletics and swimming, the Philippines raised its overall medal tally to 19 gold, 16 silver and 34 bronze medals, just one gold shy of the 20 golds the Philippine para-athletes won in the 2017 edition of the meet.
The Philippines is poised to add another gold in the men’s P1 team event after FIDE Master Sander Severino and Jasper Rom downed their separate rivals in the fifth and penultimate round at the Lo-rin Hotel.