by Kristel Satumbaga
ILAGAN, Isabela – Anfernee Lopena and Fil-American Kristina Knott proved their worth late Wednesday to become the fastest man and woman in the 2019 Ayala Philippine Athletics Championships at the City of Ilagan Sports Complex here.
Lopena clocked 10.63 seconds to retain his men’s 100-meter crown while Florida-based Knott timed 11.64sec to dethrone Eloisa Luzon in the women’s 100m.
It was a better performance for Lopena compared to last year, where he registered 10.91sec for the gold medal. His performance was only 0.01sec slower than the bronze-medal performance at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games (SEAG).
Lopena took advantage of Eric Cray’s absence for the second straight year as Cray, the national record holder, opted to join the 200m and the 4x100m relay instead.
Air Force’s Isidro Del Prado, Jr. settled for silver in 11.26sec while Adamson’s Elias Cuevas came in third in 11.41sec.
Zion Rose Nelson, meanwhile, finished second in women’s side in 11.84sec after running out of gas in the last 20 meters while Luzon settled for bronze in 12.19sec.
Lopena and Knott returned a few hours later to clinch their second gold medals after their relay teams ruled the 4x100m race.
Lopena joined forces with Cray, Jomar Udtohan and Clinton Bautista in posting 40.13sec while Knott teamed up with Nelson and twins Kayla and Kyla Richardson in timing 45.62sec in the distaff side.
Albert Mantua also scored two gold medals after winning the men’s shot put in 14.66m. On Wednesday, he heaved 46.94m to dominate the men’s discus throw.
Fil-American Carter Lilly also made his presence felt after reigning supreme in the men’s 800m in 1:50.93, edging 2017 Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games silver medalist Marco Vilog (1:53.09) and University of the Philippines’ Mariano Masano (1:53.14).
The 23-year-old Lilly, who is based in Iowa, also qualified in the 400m finals after timing 49.10sec.
Also taking the day’s spotlight were Narcisa Atienza (women’s shot put), Adamson’s Raziebel Fabellon (women’s high jump), Melvin Calano (men’s javelin throw), Air Force’s Mervin Guarte (men’s 3000m steeplechase), Army’s Ailene Tolentino (women’s 3000m steeplechase).
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