Juico forecasts 8 athletics gold medals in 38th SEAG
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - March 17, 2015 - 4:03pm

MANILA, Philippines – Track and field chief Philip Ella Juico thinks the country is good for at least eight gold medals in the 38th Southeast Asian Games set June 5-6 in Singapore.

“I believe our best performance in athletics in the SEA Games was about 30 years ago in Manila,” said Juico Tuesday in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Shakey’s Malate, referring to the Filipinos’ 12-gold haul in the 1995 Manila SEAG.

“I’m optimistic we can win eight gold medals and we have five or six events where we have a 50-50 chance of also winning,” he added.

And Juico says he hasn’t even counted the two mints Fil-Am thrower Caleb Stuart is aiming to collect in the biennial meet.

Stuart, a massive 6-2, 250-pound 22-year-old former University of California-Riverside standout, is being tipped to win the hammer throw and shot put gold in Singapore as his personal best is better than the current SEAG records.

In fact, Stuart, who was accompanied by American father John and Filipina mother Rowena Pineda-Stewart in the weekly public service forum, is fresh from a spectacular effort in the Ben Brown meet in Los Angeles, where he heaved a 68.66 meters to top the SEAG mark by over six meters.

Stuart, a Phl passport holder, surpassed not only his old personal best of 67.24m but also the current SEAG record of 62.23 by Thai Tantiphong Petchaiya and the Phl mark of 61.69 by Arniel Ferrera.

In shot put, Stuart owns a personal best of 17.88, which is also better than the current SEAG best of 17.64m owned by another Thai Thawin Khachin and the national record of 16.74m by Eleazer Sunang.

By June, he should get better.

“I hope to win two golds,” said the soft-spoken Stuart, who also eyes to meet the Olympic hammer throw standard set at 70m before the year ends.

Stuart is expected to make his true worth known as he expected to participate in the National Open slated March 19-22 in Sta. Cruz, Laguna where he will represent the Phl Air Force.

Juico likes what he sees.

“We at the PATAFA are excited to have a world class talent in our SEAG team,” said Juico of Stuart, who was discovered by Phl Sports commissioner Jolly Gomez after being referred to by national softball team mainstay Morgan Stuart.

Stuart is seeking to become the most dominant thrower to compete for the country since Fil-Mexican Josephine dela Vina captured the gold in the 1966 Asian Games and Asian Championship and winding up 11th in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico.

ARNIEL FERRERA ASIAN GAMES AND ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP BEN BROWN BY JUNE CALEB STUART ELEAZER SUNANG FIL-MEXICAN JOSEPHINE JOHN AND FILIPINA JOLLY GOMEZ STUART
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