TAIPEI -- With nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis watching, the country’s track and field stars under the Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines (FESSAP) take the limelight in the 29th Summer Universiade here Wednesday.
The 15-man athletics team under coach Joseph Sy kicks off its campaign against the world’s best as track and field competitions get underway at the Taipei Stadium.
Sean Michael Kaufmann and Yuhei Go and Jeremiah Angela Malonso will see action in the qualifying heats in the men’s and women’s 100m starting at 9 a.m.
Kaufmann, the 19-year-old student from University of the Philippines, and Go, the 22-year-old bet from Xavier University-Cagayan de Oro, are also scheduled to compete in the men’s 200m.
Malonso, the 20-year-old from UP, will also try her luck in 200m.
The other members of the team are:
Men -- Lloyd Prado (5000m), Connor Alexander Henderson (400m hurdles), Alvin John Vergel (110m hurdles), Aristeo de la Pena (long jump), Rogil Pablo (long jump, triple jump) and Carlo Caong (discus).
Women -- Karen Janario (200m, 100m hurdles), Jingky Obanon (400m), Louielyn Pamatian (800m), Felyn Dolloso (long jump, triple jump) and Ma. Elizabeth Capioso (20km walk).
Not even the sad fate that befell hurdler Jaime Mejia could dampen the morale of the team members now at the newly-built Universiade Athletes Village
Mejia became the first casualty in the team when he was rushed to a Taipei hospital with dengue.
Mejia was scheduled to compete in the 110m and 400m hurdles before he was hospitalized.
FESSAP president David Ong urged the Filipino tracksters to keep their heads up highs during the six-day athletics competition.
“As I’ve told our athletes even before our departure to Taipei, they are already winners by having this once-in-a lifetime opportunity to compete in the Universiade,” said Ong in an interview with People’s Journal/ Tonight.
The Filipinos’ campaign in this prestigious 12-day competition known as the ‘Olympics’ of university athletes is also being supported by San Miguel Corp., Bestank and Garfield Sportswear.
A familiar face now in the Athletes Village and later Taipei Stadium is Lewis, who won nine Olympic gold medals and 10 World Championship medals from 1979 to 1996.
Also here is Lewis’ former Olympic teammate Leroy Burrell, whose son is now a member of Team USA.
The two former teammates and Olympic and world champions are in Taipei as coaches of the star-studded University of Houston Cougars representing the American team.
“Being named as the USA representative for the World University Games is a tremendous honor for our program,” said Burrell.
“This is an opportunity for the University of Houston to prove that we can compete not only on the collegiate stage, but on an international platform as well,” he added.