Torres-Sunang qualifies for third Olympics after record jump
MANILA, Philippines - Word filtered slowly but surely Tuesday morning and it was sigh of relief when long jumper Marestella Torres-Sunang's performance that bagged the Kazakhstan Open for her and made the cut-off for the Rio Olympics was within the allowable wind limits by the international athletics body.
"It's 0.8 meters per second," said Philip Juico, president of the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA) in a phone interview with Rappler.com. "She qualifies."
This will be the third consecutive Olympic stint for the 35-year-old Sunang, who participated in the 2008 and 2012 Games.
There was much suspense about the wind gauge during Sunang's last jump that enabled her to win the event on Monday night. A reading of higher than 2 meters for second would invalidate the jump.
Not only did Sunang crack her own national mark by one centimeter with her 6.72 meter leap that won the Kazakhstan Open, her third straight victory in 3 competitions in Kryrgyzstan and Kazakhstan but it boosted her status as the country's top track and field athlete.
Thought to have peaked after jumping 6.60 meters in winning the national open last April at the Philsports Arena, Sunang gathered her resources for one last run at her Philippine record of 6.71 meters, which she achieved in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games, her fourth consecutive long jump title.
"She had the support she needed," said Juico, who said that Sunang is now 28th in the world in the long jump. "We never lost faith in her even when it took her around two years to recover after giving birth in 2014."
Sunang and her coach Joebert Delicano will be arriving tonight, said Juico.
The IAAF still has to notify the Philippines officially that Sunang is in. Athletics will now be the largest contingent of Philippine representatives at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, with hurdler Eric Cray and marathon runner Mary Joy Tabal. – Rappler.com