Torres takes last trip to Incheon
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - August 28, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Ace jumper Marestella Torres will be competing in the Incheon Asian Games, after all.

The Philippine Olympic Committee-Philippine Sports Commission Asiad task force finally gave the two-time Olympian the green light to join Incheon-bound Team Phl on the strength of her 6.45-meter leap in winning the long jump gold in the Singapore Open over the weekend.

“She earned the slot by jumping the mark needed to qualify. That was all we asked for. She deserved it,” PSC chairman and Team Phl chef de mission Richie Garcia told The STAR yesterday.

Torres, who is making a comeback after giving birth early this year, initially couldn’t make the cut for Team Phl, falling short of the standard set by the task force – 6.37m – in two previous competitions abroad and one trial at the PhilSports.

Eventually, the 33-year-old former Asian champion, who is training under the Adopt an Olympian program of sponsor and coach Jim Lafferty, proved she still has it and leapt a 6.45m effort last Saturday in Singapore.

“Nagpapasalamat po ako at nabigyan ako muli ng pagkakataon na mapatunayan ko na kaya kong manalo sa Asian Games (I’m thankful for getting this chance to prove myself in the Asian Games),” said Torres.

She added it would also be her chance for redemption after settling for fourth in 2010. That time Torres jumped to a leading 6.49m in her first try but fouled the rest of her jumps and crashed out of the podium. The gold was won by Korean Jung Soon-ok who posted 6.53m.

The Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (Patafa), led by president Philip Juico and Lafferty, had batted for Torres’ inclusion, stressing the veteran internationalist still has the tools to contend for medal.

“She is a gold medal material and only getting stronger. She deserves leniency coming off a recent pregnancy. I think it’s a good decision for the country,” said Lafferty.

Torres’ late addition brought up to 150 the number of Pinoy athletes set to do battle in the Incheon Asiad set Sept. 19-Oct 4.

ASIAN GAMES INCHEON ASIAD INCHEON ASIAN GAMES JIM LAFFERTY KOREAN JUNG SOON MARESTELLA TORRES PHILIP JUICO AND LAFFERTY PHILIPPINE AMATEUR TRACK AND FIELD ASSOCIATION PHILIPPINE OLYMPIC COMMITTEE-PHILIPPINE SPORTS COMMISSION ASIAD TEAM PHL
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