MANILA -- The Philippines' long jump queen Marestella Torres-Sunang is still defying the odds in the field of athletics as she remains part of the national team at the age of 40.
Proving the cliche that “age is just a number,” Sunang revealed that she is still doing hardcore training nine times a week, including twice in three days, as part of her preparations for future international competitions.
“I train twice a day. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, twice po kami nagte-training. In the morning three hours, in the afternoon two hours. So, parang eight to nine times a week 'yung training po namin,” the three-time Olympian said in a virtual meeting promoting milk brand Anlene.
“Meron naman kaming rest every other day, afternoon lang. So morning meron kaming training. So kailangan mo talaga ng more energy, mas malakas pa 'yung bone mo,” she added.
When asked why she has yet to retire from the sport where she spent 23 years of her life, Sunang admitted that she is still eyeing to win another Southeast Asian Games gold medal next year in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The Filipina athlete has won four gold medals already in the regional meet, ruling from 2005 to 2011. She is also the current SEA Games record holder at 6.71 meters, which she tallied in the 2011 edition in Indonesia.
But aside from winning international contests, Sunang is still searching for young athletes who are ready to follow her footsteps and will continue the winning tradition of the Philippines in long jump competitions abroad.
“Kaya 'di pa ko nagre-retire kasi I want to challenge young ones na sumali naman sila sa long jump para meron naman akong kapalit in the future. Kasi gusto ko kasi tuloy-tuloy 'yung achievements sa long jump sa Philippines, in terms of international competitions,” Sunang explained.
According to her, she keeps on joining events to challenge the younger generation to beat her.
“Tsina-challenge ko sila every competition. Andito pa rin ako so gusto kong matalo nila ako. Kumbaga meron na akong young ones na makikita in the future. Soon naman gusto ko rin maging coach sa kanila. Next year ang goal ko is SEA Games. Sana makuha natin ulit 'yung gold medal,” she quipped.
Sunang has been tapped to be the brand endorser of Anlene Gold 5X, which she said she has been drinking since 1998.
The athlete said the milk is one of the reasons for her longevity in the sport.
“It helps me a lot. 'Yung flexibility ko nakakatulong din siya. Collagen siyempre sa mga joints. Alam naman natin 'pag tumatanda. Kung kailangan ko dati, mas kailangan ko ngayon. 'Yun ang nagpapatagal sa 'kin sa sports. 23 years na ko sa national team,” she said.
“Sa sobrang hirap ng training namin everyday, nakakatulong siya sa 'kin unang una sa flexibility, 'yung joints. Dati nagkakaroon ako ng injury sa tuhod. Mas mabilis 'yung recovery. Pag training namin meron kang energy.”
Torres-Sunang is still the national record holder in women’s long jump at 6.72 meters. She has represented the Philippines in the 2008 Beijing, 2012 London, and 2016 Rio Olympics.