Fil-American standout Lauren Hoffman made a splash after outpacing a Southeast Asian Games gold medallist from Vietnam on Wednesday in the ICTSI Philippine Athletics Championship at the City of Ilagan Sports Complex.
Hoffman, a 23-year-old sprinter from Duke University, topped the women’s 100-meter hurdles heats after reaching the finish line together with Vietnamese trackster Huynh Thi My Thien with a similar 13.83-second clockings.
The 5’6” Hoffman, a prospect from Haymarket, Virginia, finished in front of defending SEA Games gold medallist, Bui Thi Nguyen, who qualified to finals at third overall with a time of 14.54 seconds.
With great showing, Hofmann came close to the national record of Sheena Atilano (13.65 seconds), turning herself into one of the brightest prospects for a seat in the national team, with two other Fil-American standouts Umajesty Williams and Angel Frank.
“Let’s see how this plays out,” said Hoffman’s coach Edward Lasquete, a retired Filipino pole vaulter who competed at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.
Hoffman’s big show came as Silay City bet Aira Teodosio took the competition’s first gold medal, while defending SEA Games gold medallist Clinton Kingsley Bautista, Williams and Frank qualified to the finals of their respective heats in convincing fashions, as well.
The 25-year-old Teodosio, who is preparing for her stint in her favored hammer throw contest on Saturday, withstood the scorching morning heat as she topped the women’s discus throw with a 38.46-meter heave.
Her performance was even better than the 37.49 meters she did during the 2019 SEA Games’ test event in Capas, Tarlac.
University of the Philippines campaigner Chrizzel Lampa settled for the silver in 35.44 meters, while Air Force’s Kenneth Grace Ferrera took the bronze in 34.03 meters.
“Hindi ko ine-expect na makaka-gold ako. Dahil side event lang po ito sa akin. Sa hammer throw po ako naghahanda,” said Teodosio, who is aiming to reenter the national squad.
The 23-year-old Williams, a masters’ student at the Grand Canyon University, said he loved the humid weather, and showed it when he led the men’s 400-meter run heats in 47.88 seconds, which was way above his personal best of 45.76 seconds.
But his clocking is within range of the SEA Games’ bronze-medal time of 46.46 seconds.
“I love it. I love the weather,” said Williams, who only got his Philippine passport last July and was not able to join the Philippine national pool then.
Williams, a US NCAA division 1 standout, is looking for a podium finish against local bets Frederick Ramirez and Michael del Prado, who were second and third in their respective heats.
The 21-year-old Frank, who is from South Carolina, was ahead in the women’s 400-meter heats in 55.05 seconds, besting Vietnamese runner Hoang Thi Min Hanh, who made the finals in 55.66, with Danae Manibog in third (55.92).
All three were in front of Vietnamese SEA Games’ gold medallists, 2021 4×400 relay winner Nguyen Thi Hang and 2019 titlist Nguyen Thi Ngoc.
The 30-year-old Bautista, who is seeking to retain his SEA Games crown, finished second overall in the 100-meter hurdles’ second heat with a clocking of 14.76 seconds.
His time was behind Shareem Abdul Raheem of Malaysia, who had a 14.64-second showing in the first heats.
“Go lang ako. Hindi ko rin expect mag-first dahil two months pa lang ako nagte-training,” said Bautista before resting to get ready for a finals clash with Raheem.
Fil-Spanish bet John Cabang also qualified to the finals with his 14.9-second clocking.