Pinoys' best effort in YOG ain't enough - so far

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 18 2014 08:38 AM | Updated as of Aug 18 2014 04:38 PM

NANJING – Swimmer Roxanne Yu’s Sunday best wasn’t good enough to carry her to the finals of her event in the second Youth OIympic Games here.

The Filipina student in Phuket saw action in the 100-meter backstroke at the Nanjing Olympic Center and booked a new personal best of one minute 5.16 seconds.

She ranked 26th out of 33 swimmers and failed to get to the finals set in the evening.

But the incoming high school senior at the British International School in Phuket said it was satisfying enough for her to surpass her old previous best of 1:05.20.

“I’m okay. It was my best time in the event and I’m happy with that,” said Yu as she was having late lunch at the dining hall of the Athletes Village.

Besides, she still has one event left, the 200-meter backstroke scheduled on Tuesday.

“I will be back to try to give my best,” said the pretty 16-year-old.

Swimming against the best young athletes from around the world was an entirely different experience for Yu.

She said organizers from the International Olympic Committee were so thorough during the pre-race inspection that even their swim caps were looked at.

When her name was called and as she stood on the starting block, Yu said she could hear the cheers from the small Filipino contingent.

The Filipinos, led by chef-de-mission Jonne Go and Young Ambassador Nadine Gutierrez, cheered her name from the stands and waved tiny flags.

“That felt so nice. It feels really different racing against swimmers of different nationalities. It was a very different kind of atmosphere.

“But it felt so good. All the people were cheering during the race. And when my name was called I could hear our delegation cheering my name,” she added.

Eleni Anna Koutsoveli of Greece won the heat in 1:03.48 while Clara Smiddy of the United States led the finalists with her time of 1:01.73.

Over at the Xuanwu Lake triathlon venue, Vicky Deldio of the Philippines couldn’t keep abreast with the best female triathletes in the 14-18 bracket.

The first-year college student at University of the Philippines wound up in 32nd place after one hour 14 minutes, seven seconds on the 750-m swim, 20-km bike and 5-km run course.

On the eve of the race, Deldio said she’d would race according to plan, and said she didn’t want to put too much pressure on herself.

“I wanted to gauge myself,” said the 16-year-old athlete who looks even younger than her age.

Deldio had split times of 13:08 (swim), 37:11 (bike) and 22:26 (run).

The gold medal went to Britanny Dutton of Australia (59:56) while Stephanie Jenks of the United States bagged the silver (1:00.33) and Emilie Morier of France the bronze (1:00:55).

Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco and Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia watched the race with POC chairman and triathlon president Tom Carrasco.

Also on hand to cheer the athletes on were POC officials Steve Hontiveros and Julian Camacho.

The Philippines will have a lone competitor on Monday, Ava Loreign Verdeflor in artistic gymnastics, at the Olympic Center.

On Tuesday, Yu will plunge back into action while Zion Rose Nelson will be in the 400-m heats on Wednesday.

Shooter Celdon Jude Arellano will fire his opening shots in the men’s air rifle also on Wednesday while archers Bianca Roxas-Chua Gotuaco and Luis Gabriel Moreno will be out on the range Friday.