Guermali breaks Buenavista’s record

Joey Villar - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino-Morrocan runner Yacine Guermali lived up to the hype as he erased the 19-year-old record of Eduardo Buenavista in the 5,000 meters of the Oregon Relays in Eugene last Friday.

The 21-year-old Guermali, a Gonzaga University mainstay who has reaffirmed his commitment to represent the Philippines along with his 23-year-old brother Said last year, clocked 13 minutes and 35.36 seconds to rearrange the old mark of 13:58.43 set by Buenavista in the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

The effort was only good for 15th place in the race topped by Cole Hocker in 13:19.98 but was felt thousands of miles away in a country where the Guermalis’ Filipina mother Juliet Quilban was born.

The Guermalis were actually penciled to see action in the 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games but had to beg off at the last minute due to injuries.

They reiterated their desire to wear the country’s colors in future international meets last September after talking to Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) president Philip Ella Juico.

A year ago, Juico predicted the Guermalis will break existing national and SEA Games records.

Said’s 1500m personal best of 3:54.26 and Yacine’s recent time in the 5,000m are both faster than the current SEA Games marks of 4:06.53 and 14:31.15, respectively.

Apart from representing the country in the 31st Hanoi SEA Games in November, the Guermalis are also eyeing the 2023 Phnom Penh SEA Games and the 2024 Paris Olympics.

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