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1st gold to Martes

ILAGAN, Isabela – Former national team member Christabel Martes took the familiar throne even as reigning Southeast Asian (SEA) Games champion Christopher Ulboc did not finish the men’s 3000m steeplechase due to injury at the start of the 2017 Ayala Philippine National Open Invitational Championships at the City of Ilagan Sports Complex here.

Martes, 37, snared the meet’s first gold medal after ruling the women’s 10,000 meters in runaway fashion with a time of 38 minutes and 40.52 seconds.

Army’s Jho-An Villarma (40:20.58) and Air Force’s Miscell Gilbuena (42:43.75) came in second and third, respectively.

The Benguet-native Martes, who retired from the PH team in 2009 and was a two-time SEA Games gold medalist, led all the way and overlapped her rivals in the final lap.

Though she was short from the national record of 34:40.3 that she has been holding for the last 16 years, Martes said she was satisfied with her performance.

“Tinitingnan ko lang kung pasok ako dun sa ineensayo kong pace, okay naman ako all the way,” said Martes, adding that she was more focused on training for the Asian Masters in September but wouldn’t mind returning to the PH team.

Meanwhile, Ulboc withdrew after the third water jump in the steeplechase race after aggravating his right thigh injury.