Bigyan gives PH-Ilagan gold in 400-meter run
Part of the quartet that suffered a painful setback in the men’s 4x400-meter relay event of the previous SEA games in Singapore, Bigyan grabbed a handsome chance of avenging his defeat as he clocked 48.39 seconds to capture the gold medal in the middle distance event of this prestigious tourney presented by the City of Ilagan and sponsored by Ayala Corporation with Milo, Philippine Sports Commission and International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) as co-presentors.
Neophyte Michael Del Prado of La Salle was a heartbeat away with 48.47 seconds while another international campaigner in Edgardo Alejan of PH Team-City of Ilagan tallied 48.60 seconds to settle for the bronze medal in this fierce battle that serves as national tryout for those who want to represent the country in the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur this August.
Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (Patafa) secretary general Renato Unso said Bigyan’s sterling performance could land him a spot in the vaunted men’s 4x400-meter squad that would be given a marching order of bringing the crown back to Manila.
So far, the federation is looking at beefing the squad with Filipino-Americans Eric Cray and Trenten Beram, the University of Connecticut track star who was part of the squad that destroyed the record in the men’s 4x100-meter relay of this event, which also has Run Rio, UCPB Gen and Foton Pilipinas as minor sponsors, the other day.
“If Cray and Beram will run, plus two more young runners like Alejan or Bigyan and two alternate runners, then we have a very good chance of winning the gold medal in the SEA Games,” said Unso, adding that national coaches are now putting their heads together to form the best team possible for the men’s 4x400-meter event in the biennial meet.
“We’re going to meet with the coaches to evaluate the performance and assemble the members of the 4x400-meter team plus two alternates. And with the way he performed, Bigyan could be in.”
In the previous SEA Games two years ago, the quartet of Bigyan, Alejan, Joan Caido and Archand Christian Bagsit were groomed to defend its title in the men’s 4x400-meter relay.
But disaster struck as Bagsit was outsmarted by Kunnanon Sukkaew of Thailand at the finish line. The Thais clocked three minutes and 6.81 seconds while the Filipinos finished with a time of 3:6.84.
“That’s why winning the men’s 4x400-meter is very important to us,” said Unso. “We’re glad that our prospect runners came up with good performance in this tournament and everybody delivered.”
Meanwhile, Patafa staged a mixed gender 4x100 and 4x200 events as sidelights in this annual tourney.
Patafa president Philip Ella Juico said they held the events in a bid to promote gender equity and inclusivity as well as face-to-face interaction among the youth in this time and age of social media.
“The idea is, among others, to promote mixed gender teamwork in light of non-face-to-face contact among our youth because of Facebook and other social media platform,” said Juico in a statement. “It promotes inclusivity and obviously gender equity.”
Also coming up with strong performance in the final day were Rogil Pablo of College of Saint Benilde, who tallied 14.89 meters to dominate boys’ triple jump; James Darrel Orduna, who clocked 4:09.43 to rule the boys’ 1,500-meter run; Ira Mae Gali of Team Baguio, who submitted 5:06.37 in the girls’ 1,500-meeter run; Ailene Toletino of Philippine Army, who registered 5:10.86 in the women’s 1,500-meter run; Mervin Guarte of Philippine Air Force, who came up with 3: 54.53 in the men’s 1,500-meter run, Danilo Fresnido of Philippine Army, who hurled the spear to a distance of 64.51 meters in the men’s javelin throw; Marjun Sulleza of Koronadal, who clocked 55.39 seconds in the boys’ 400-meter hurdles; and John Christian Capasao of Mapua, who tallied 52.83 meters in the boys’ javelin throw competition.