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Freeman Cebu Sports

Upside Down

WRECKORDER - FGS Gujilde - The Freeman

Filipino star athletes in Vietnam did not disappoint. Carlos Yulo treated us to world-class performance boredom with no less than five gold medals, multiples that greatly account for the gold medal haul that surprisingly placed us at third behind the host country and powerhouse Thailand.

Eric Cray won his fifth consecutive 400m hurdles gold to extend his consistency and longevity to at least a decade reminiscent of Elma Muros in the long jump. But not of political dynasty. Athletes win fair and square, except the drugged and the dragged or those who claim to have either unknowingly or forcefully taken performance-enhancing substances. Politicians too, if elected by a free and informed electorate. Free from vitiated consent, including or especially money. Informed of facts, not of social media crap. A public opinion based on falsity equals to decisional tragedy.

Then there is EJ Obiena who vaulted to gold a centimeter higher than his regional record. He flies so high using a bendable stick over a height measured by science – 5.46 meters to be exact. Not reminiscent, but the opposite of someone back home who flies a plane and spreads lies instead of wings. The propensity to fabricate has now fixated anyone, but not everyone. It’s not only the masses that turned into asses, some educators have turned into aesthetic doctors who ironically ironed out wrinkled historical contour.

Obiena too became a doctor, but of humanity and sensitivity. When his Thai rival fell to the ground and lifted his leg in pain, EJ knew exactly what to do, remove his shoe. Why would anyone help a foe out of injury when it increases your chance at victory? The answer is simple, do right under any circumstance, even if to many, doing the right thing is no longer the right thing to do. The flag bearer did not want to win by default, he wants to win against anyone who can vault. A true athlete measures his personal best against everyone at their best.

The best of the best is averse to winning a soft race. Excellence is not measured against mediocrity. But it is victory just the same, if not moral, it is sentimental. Like the Singaporean sprinter who reprised her golden performance over the 200m sprint years ago. Lucky her, the home country bet who beat her many times before is sidelined by injury. Luckier her, the Filipina defending champion and record holder Kristina is Knott around either. It was not an empty race though. But luckiest her, one of the Fil-Am twins favored to win owing to her time before the games fell short in the end.  

But it was not about luck, the 200m reinstalled champ didn’t lack for innate speed and acquired hard work. But EJ has more. The Asian record holder showed us the regional meet is not only about competition, it is also about compassion. His gigantic leap is not only about victory of the human body, it is also about triumph of the human spirit. It has no genes. It cannot be taught either. Like being magnanimous in victory and gracious in defeat. Just as a people can be triumphant in defeat, a troll army bitter in victory.

CARLOS YULO

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