Despite bronze finish, Torres Sunang proud her long jump record still stands
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Despite a bronze medal finish in the women's long jump of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games, 3-time Olympian Marestella Torres Sunang remained proud that her record still stands 6 years since she set it.
Torres Sunang's 6.71 meters from the Indonesia SEA Games in 2011 was not broken despite the best efforts of Vietnam's gold medalist Bui Thi Thu Thao, who registered a distance of 6.68 for the win.
"Napaka-overwhelmed ako na ako pa rin 'yung SEA Games record holder. Hindi pa rin nabe-break," Torres Sunang told Rappler.
(I'm still very overwhelmed that I'm still the SEA Games record holder. It wasn't broken.)
"Gigil na gigil siya (Vietnam), gustong gusto niya i-break 'yung record ko. Grabe 'yung pagpupursige niya na ma-break 'yung record ko. Talon niya puro 6.60+ pero hindi niya pa rin nakuha."
(She was so determined, she really wanted to break my record. She worked really hard to break it. Her jumps were at 6.60+ but she still couldn't get it.)
"I'm very proud pa rin and overwhelmed. Maghihintay pa rin tayo ng two years kung sino man mag-break ng record ko. So akin pa rin 'yung record," she added.
(I'm very proud and overwhlemed. We have to wait another two years to see who could break it. So it's still mine.)
The 36-year-old leaped to 6.45 meters on Friday, August 26, and came in third only to the top two finishers of the 2014 Asian Games. Bui Thi Thu Thao was the silver medalist while Maria Natalia Londa was the gold medalist in the Asiad. Both of them are also much younger than Torres Sunang at just 25 and 26 years old, respectively.
"Masaya ako dahil with my age, nakaka-deliver pa rin ako ng medal. And 'yung performance ko nakadikit pa rin sa kanila, sa mga bata," said Torres Sunang.
(I'm happy that even with my age, I can still deliver a medal. And my performance is still at par with the younger ones.)
"Happy pa rin ako kasi 'yung performance ko nandoon pa rin. Tsaka 'yung mga kalaban ko Asian Games champions."
(I'm happy because my performance is still there. And my opponents were Asian Games champions.)
Torres Sunang looked strong, springy, and well-conditioned during her jumps. Her fouls, which were the jumps that were farthest, were what ultimately cost her a higher standing. She secured the bronze with only two successful attempts out of 6.
"Talagang ganoon lang 'yung laban. Problemado lagi ako sa check mark kasi hindi ko masyado ma-control," she admitted. "Dati kaya ko siyang i-control. Ngayon hindi ko ma-control 'yung speed up sa run e."
(It's just the nature of the game. That check mark has always been my problem because I couldn't control it. I could control it before but now I'm having trouble controlling my speed up during the run.)
The Filipino had one last chance at beating out the Vietnamese in her final attempt but she wasn't able to make the jump after she miscalculated her run and take-off in an attempt to avoid another foul – to the cheers and delight of the Vietnamese coaches, who knew their bet had already won the gold.
"Iniba ko 'yung kung saan ako dumadaan. Tapos hindi nag-work out so sabi ko it's okay. At least I gave them a good fight," she said. (I changed my strategy. It didn't work out so I told myself it's okay.)
In an unfortunate incident after the competition, Bui Thi Thu Thao accidentally stepped on Torres Sunang's bare toes while wearing her spiked shoes as she congratulated and hugged the Filipino.
Torres Sunang wound up in the clinic with a severely bleeding second toe and a gaping hole – through her toenail – to show for it.
The unexpected injury might trouble Torres Sunang if it doesn't heal up fast enough as she is set to compete in the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan from September 17 to 27.
Despite talk of retirement this past year, Torres Sunang is now setting her sights on the Asian Games in Indonesia next year, where she hopes to finally snag a medal – the missing piece in her fruitful career, she said.
She begins training for the Asiad in November and, barring any injuries, also hopes to compete once again at the 2019 SEA Games to be hosted at home in Manila.
"'Yung jump ko nandoon pa rin," she said. "Nandoon pa rin 'yung lakas ng jump." (My jump is still there. The strength in my jump is still there.) – Rappler.com