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Molina dominates anew for second swim gold
- Joey Villar () - December 1, 2005 - 12:00am
LOS BANOS — With his compatriots struggling in the face of a strong foreign challenge, the United States-based Miguel Molina came through with another victory yesterday to prevent a gold shutout in Day 2 of the 23rd Southeast Asian Games swimming competitions at the packed Trace Aquatics Center here.

A day after delivering the country’s lone gold with a victory in the 400-m individual medley, Molina won another one, this time in overpowering fashion as he outclassed the field to rule the 200-meter individual medley to the delight of a big hometown crowd.

"I’m just happy that I won again," said Molina. "I think I have a chance of winning more in the next few days. But we’ll see."

So dominating was Molina, a fourth year International Relations student at University of California in Berkeley, that his time of two minutes and 3.80 seconds was way ahead of Thai Radomyos Matjiur’s 2:07.12 and Singaporean Gary Tan Lee Yu’s 2:08.01. Matjiur took the silver medal and Tan the bronze.

Seconds after the long-haired Molina’s feat, fans at this state-of-the-art pool center went wild and sang popular local tunes "Pinoy Ako" by Orange and Lemons and "Noypi" by Bamboo.

Molina also smashed the current mark of 2:04.68 he himself established in the World Championships last August in Montreal, Canada.

He almost broke the SEAG record of 2:03.54 in 2003 by Thai Ratapong Sirisanont.

"I’m proud of him (Molina) and I hope he could win more," said RP swimming chief Mark Joseph.

Riding the crest of a two-gold medal haul, Joscelin Yeo added another one to her growing collection with a victory in the 100-m breaststroke in 1:11.74, a fraction of a second off the SEAG mark of 1:11.36 she herself set in the 1999 Brunei edition.

One of her victims included Fil-Am Jacklyn Pangilinan, who settled for the bronze medal after leading going into the final 35-meter stretch before Yeo and compatriot Nicolette Teo foiled her bid. Pangilinan clocked 1:12.73.

Absorbing the same fate was 2004 Athen Olympics veteran Timmy Chua, who also snared a bronze in 1:04.35 in the 100-m breaststroke behind gold medal winner Nguyen Huu Viet of Vietnam (1:03.80) and Vorrawuti Aumpiwan of Thailand (1:04.01).

Lizza Danila, Heidi Gem Ong, Erica Totten and Marichi Gandionco teamed up in the 4x100-m freestyle relay for the Filipinos’ third bronze medal in the day.

The Danila-led squad clocked 4:00.22 in the event topped by Thailand’s team of Jiratida Phinyosophon, Natnapa Prommuenwai, Chonlatho Vorathamrong and Tassamol Petchsangroj in 3:52.70, a new SEAG record.

The Thais owned the old mark of 3:53.33 established in Kuala Lumpur.

Pilin Tachakrittiranan delivered Thailand’s second gold in the day and third overall with a win in the 400-m freestyle in 4:23.19.

Chua seized the lead a few meters after the first turn but failed to sustain his momentum and fell to third.

Also making his presence felt was Indonesian Richard Sambera, who came out of retirement by reclaiming the 100-m freestyle gold medal in 51.94 seconds in the event where he is the current record holder of 50.80 seconds he did in Kuala Lumpur.

Sambera, who skipped the Vietnam Games to pursue a television career back home, bested Bego Daniel of Malaysia and Bryan Tay Zhirong, who timed in 52.35 and 52.38 to take the silver and bronze medal, respectively.

Ronald Guiriba, the fourth placer in Vietnam, finished only fifth this time in 53.21 while Kendrick Uy landed seventh in 53.56.

Vietnam, for its part, barged into the gold medal column as Nguyen Huu Viet came out of nowhere to rule the 100-m breaststroke in 1:03.80.

ATHEN OLYMPICS BEGO DANIEL OF MALAYSIA AND BRYAN TAY ZHIRONG CHONLATHO VORATHAMRONG AND TASSAMOL PETCHSANGROJ ERICA TOTTEN AND MARICHI GANDIONCO FIL-AM JACKLYN PANGILINAN GOLD HEIDI GEM ONG KUALA LUMPUR MEDAL MOLINA
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