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PH gymnasts vie in HK

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Nine gymnasts bound for the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia will see action in the seventh Senior Artistic Gymnastics Asian championships starting today in Bangkok, Thailand.

Reynald Capellan, 24, who won the country’s lone gold medal in the 2015 Games in Singapore, heads the team that will compete with Asia’s top bets, including powerhouse China.

The other members of the men’s squad are Jan Gwynn Timbang, Albert Tristan Lopez and Adrian Apuyan.

Kaitlin de Guzman, the 17-year old daughter of former national gymnast Cintamoni dela Cruz, is among five female gymnasts entered.

The others are Katrina Marie Evangelista, Ma. Cristina Onofre, Mariana Josefa Hermoso and Rachelle Arellano.

Not much is expected from the gymnasts, although their participation will afford a chance for officials to gauge their performances against those they will face in the Kuala Lumpur Games.

Gymnasts from Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore are also seeing action in them six-day event.

Some of the gold medalists in the last Games are entered, among them: Dinh Phuong Thanh, Le Thanh Tung and Dang Nam of Vietnam, and Farah Ann Abdul Hadi and Tan Ing Yueh of Malaysia.

China is expected to dominate the competition with Japan giving the Chinese a run for their money in the men’s event.

Capellan won the men’s floor exercises and took third spot in the men’s vault in the Singapore Games to account for half of the four medals won by the country two years ago.

Ava Lorein Verdeflor placed second in the women’s uneven bars for the solitary silver and was a member of the team that took the bronze.

Verdeflor, however, suffered a bad fall more than a year ago and underwent surgery. She is currently undergoing therapy and is not ready for the Games.

A total of 20 gold medals are at stake in the Games, including eight in rhythmic gymnastics.

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