'Ironwoman' Dequinan is 1st double gold medalist in PH track meet

Manolo Pedralvez

Posted at Mar 24 2023 08:09 PM

Sarah Dequinan leaps to victory in the women's long jump. PATAFA
Sarah Dequinan leaps to victory in the women's long jump. PATAFA

ILAGAN, Isabela - Underscoring her reputation as the country's iron woman, Sarah Dequinan had a gold and silver in the women's long jump and and javelin throw, respectively, Friday to emerge as the most bemedalled athlete during the third day of hostilities in the ICTSI Philippine Athletics Championships here.

After handily winning the women's heptathlon late Thursday with a score of 4,544 points, Dequinan woke up early Friday morning to show that she still had much to spare at the Ilagan Sports Complex track oval.

On top of competing in the women's long jump and javelin throw, which were held simultaneously, the 2019 30th Southeast Asian Games heptathlon queen had to sprint back-and-forth 100 meters across the field to see action in both events. 

Her yeoman efforts paid off handsomely, nailing the women's long jump gold with a jump of 5.79 meters on her second try after bagging the silver with a heave of 42.41 meters in the javelin throw behind gold medalist Evelyn Palabrica (45.92) in the meet organized by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association.

"Okay na ako? Okay na ako? (Am I okay? Am I okay?)" a dog-tired Dequinan pleaded to her coach, Dario de Rosas, who was watching from the bleachers near the long jump arena, if she could be permitted to stop after her fifth jump and the gold in the bag.
De Rosas responded by giving the athlete the thumbs-up so she could finally call it a day in the competition supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and CEL Logistics.

Unlike the heptathlon where her only rival was Malaysian silver medalist Eng May Xin Winnie (4,544), the athlete said she enjoyed competing in both of her events Friday.

"There were more athletes to compete against. Kalaban mo lang 'yung sarili mo sa hepta. Masaya kasi marami. (It was like battling with myself in the hepta. I was happy we were many competing.)," she explained.

"'Yung heptathlon po main event ko; eto (long jump and javelin) dagdag sa training. Enjoyment na lang para sa akin (The heptathlon is my main event, while the long jump and javelin throw adds to my training, which is my enjoyment)," she said.

"Competing in individual events helps me know my weaknesses and where I need to improve. I believe that I need to improve my technique more in the javelin throw and long jump."

The Valencia, Bukidnon native said she also felt the need "na may competition talaga so 'yun ang hinanahanap ko today sa laro na 'to. (I felt the need to have competition today which is what I was looking for when I performed today)."

A three-time UAAP heptathlon champion, Dequinan said she had grown accustomed to doing two field events at the same time "because I did this during my UAAP days so I am used to it."

US-based Lauren Hoffman finally secured her first gold medal for the country, leading from start to finish to nose out national record-holder Robyn Brown in the thrilling finale of the women's 400-meter hurdles.

Striding confidently, Hoffman won with a time of 57.76 seconds, relegating Brown, who holds the national mark of 56.44 seconds after bagging the bronze in the 2021 Vietnam Southeast Games, to the silver in 57.87 seconds.

"I knew Robyn was the record-holder and she really has fast times so I just tried to stay with her and pass her if I can. When she set the record last year, she really inspired me so she's great," said the former Duke University varsity mainstay, who has a personal best time of 55.47 seconds in the event.

"I fed off the energy of Umajesty Williams and Angela Frank, who are my teammates, after they won," added Hoffman, referring Williams' and Franks' victories in the men's and women's 400-meter runs last Tuesday.

It was her second medal in the blue-ribbon meet after her runner-up finish in the 100 hurdles two days ago.

"It's not bad, it is still early in the season," said Brown of her performance, just two days after she arrived from the US and was apparently feeling the jet lag. "I just dove into it. And it was nice somebody was pushing me."

Former three-time Palarong Pambansa standout Marjun Sulleza took the men's 400-meter run (54.56), Junel Gobolia of Camarines Norte clocked 9:20.88 to clinch the gold in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase, and national teram member Melvin Calano ruled the men's javelin throw with a heave of 66.31 meters on his very first throw. 

In the meantime, interesting duels are lined up featuring US-based national athletes on Saturday.

One of them is between 2019 30th SEA Games women's pole vault gold medalist Natalie Uy and Alyanna Nicolas, who took a bronze in last year's regional meet in Vietnam.

Also another event to watch is the women's 100-meter clash between Kayla Richardson, the 200-meter run winner last Thursday, who will gun for her second sprint gold against Tokyo Olympic Games veteran Kristina Knott.