Kayla Sanchez fifth in 100-m free as PH shut out in Day 7

Kayla Sanchez establishes a new national mark of 54.69 seconds in the heats. She fell short in the finals, though. —AFP

HANGZHOU, CHINA—After another failed bid that overshadowed sinking another national mark, Kayla Noelle Sanchez just wants everyone to keep the faith.

“I hope you believe in me because I’m having the best time being able to represent the Philippines and be a leader of this team,’’ said Sanchez, minutes after finishing fifth in the women’s 100-meter freestyle finals of the 19th Asian Games (Asiad) on Tuesday night that kept the country still searching for its first gold medal here.

She is down to her final chance in these Games, as she takes part in the 50-meter free event on Wednesday.

Hong Kong’s Siobhan Bernadette Haughey timed a new Asiad record 52.17 seconds in ruling the event over China’s Yang Junxuan as Sanchez finished fifth in 54.69.

The second host bet in the field, Cheng Yujie, was third in 53.91.

After winning bronzes the previous two days, the Philippines was totally shut out on Day 7 as China completely broke away in the overall race with a total of 49 medals as of 9 p.m. on Tuesday. The hosts also have 26 silver and 13 bronze medals with South Korea a far second with a 13-13-19 tally.

Japan has a 7-19-14 medal count and only 13 of the 23 countries seeing action have so far won gold, with the Philippines taking a 0-0-2 count into the eighth day of hostilities though the Filipinos still have EJ Obiena as the red-hot favorite to win the men’s pole vault event.

Arnel Mandal and Gideon Fred Padua, however, gave Team Philippines a pair of virtual bronze medals in wushu late Tuesday in men’s sanda at Xiaoshan Guali Sports Centre.

The 27-year-old Mandal, a one-time world champion in the combat event, sent Uzbekistan’s Jamshidbek Guliboev to the canvas twice and scored on kicks and multiple punches to prevail, 2-0, in the quarterfinals of their 56-kilogram clash.

Padua, meanwhile, toppled Turkmenistan’s Agajumageldi Yazymov, 2-0, in the men’s 60 kg quarterfinal, setting up a semifinal either against South Korea’s Kim Minsoo or Surya Bhanu Singh of India.

The ending was exactly what Sanchez and the country anticipated, more so after she had reset the national mark twice in the preliminaries, where she timed 54.70 and 54.69 to erase the three-year-old mark of 55.71 held by Remedy Rule.

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“I’m still adjusting. This is actually my first competitive swim internationally since serving my residency last year,’’ said Sanchez, who chose Philippine citizenship in July last year that propped up hopes of glory in the sport regionally. NQ


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