Ajido delivers gold in Asian swimfest

Joey Villar - The Philippine Star

CAPAS, Tarlac , Philippines — From nothing to something then everything.

That was how unheralded Filipino Jamesray Ajido’s journey turned into after coming up short in the first day, scooping up a bronze the next and delivering what everyone hoped for – a historic gold – last night in the 11th Asian Age-Group Swimming Championships at the New Clark City here.

Just hours after clocking the best time of 56.91 seconds in the morning heats of the boys’ 100-meter butterfly, the La Salle-Greenhills standout had the swim of his life in snatching the country’s breakthrough mint with a time of 55.98.

He also eclipsed the five-year-old meet record of 56.36 set by Chinese Taipei’s Wang Yu Xiang.

“Hindi ko ine-expect, basta binigay ko lang lahat ng makakaya ko,” said the soft-spoken 15-year-old and two-time ASEAN Age-Group gold medalist moments after his monumental feat.

And Ajido did it with a scintillating final 50m stretch where he delivered a tour de force performance, sinking Japanese Yusei Yisiono and Taiwanese Kan Yung Cheng, who settled for the silver and a bronze with clocking of 56.05 and 56.79, respectively.

It erased all the heartaches he and the Filipino tankers felt when he missed grabbing a medal on Day 1 in three finals events and settling for a bronze in the 50m freestyle the next day. Until he decided it was enough.

“Worship music pinakinggan ko papunta sa venue,” said Ajido.

Ajido’s magnificence hiked the country’s total to a gold and three bronzes, including two by Fil-Brit Heather White (100m butterfly) Tuesday and Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh (200m butterfly) last night.

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