MANILA, Philippines – Long jumper Marestella Torres was left in tears after another disappointing performance in her event as she failed to advance past the qualifying rounds of the 2012 London Olympics.
Torres came into London hoping to at least put on a strong performance and banish the ghosts of a nightmarish showing in the Beijing Games four years earlier.
But the 32-year-old veteran said she felt some muscle pains as she warmed up for her event, and Torres eventually jumped to a distance of 6.22-meters in her third and final attempt as she failed to make the final round in her second Olympic appearance.
Torres finished 11th out of 14 athletes in her group, and was eventually ranked 22nd in a field of 28. Shara Proctor of Great Britain topped the qualifying rounds with a jump of 6.83-meters.
"Ewan ko ba, nanakit ang mga muscles ko sa warm-up pa lang," Torres told an official of Team Philippines.
Torres set her personal best in last year’s Southeast Asian Games, wherein she jumped 6.71-meters to set a new Philippine record.
But she could not find that winning form in the Olympics, and Torres was in tears as she searched for answers on why she jumped nowhere near her personal best.
"Parang napasukan lang ng lamig. Nag-iba na naman kasi ang weather in the last few days," Torres said. "Sayang ang paghahanda ko. Alam ko, prepared ako ngayon. Disappointed talaga."
If Torres had matched her personal best, she could have easily made the championship round. Eight of the 12 qualifiers had a jump shorter than 6.71-meters.
The 12th qualifier, Veronika Shutkova of Bulgaria, jumped 6.4-meters in her last attempt, a length Torres had achieved several times in two international tournaments she competed in before the London Games.
It was another disappointing performance for Torres, who also had a nightmarish debut in Beijing when she jumped only 6.17-meters to finish 34th out of a field of 38.
Despite the debacle, Torres is still not considering retirement.
"Tatalon pa rin," she said. "Kung wala pang tatalo sa akin sa atin, siyempre gusto ko pa ring lumaban sa international tournaments."
Torres realized there was something wrong when she jumped to only 5.98-meters in her first attempt before breaking the 6-meter barrier with a 6.21 leap in her second try.
Despite the muscle pain, Torres still went for it in her third and final attempt, but only managed to improve by one inch.
With Torres' ouster, only two Filipino athletes are left to compete in the Games. BMX rider Daniel Caluag is believed to have a small chance in competing for a medal, while trackster Rene Herrera, who competes in the 5,000-meters, is a massive underdog in his event.