Constructive check smears PH’s strong begin in Vietnam; handball eyes second victory

Luke Gebbie

Luke Gebbie. INQUIRER.internet/Tristan Tamayo

An excellent begin by the Philippines earlier than the thirty first Southeast Asian (SEA) Games formally bought going was marred by the exit of 1 medal hopeful even earlier than his competitors might get began.

Filipino-Australian Luke Michael Gebbie, one of many swimmers anticipated to problem for a podium end in Hanoi, Vietnam, was dominated out after he failed his RT-PCR check.

“Too bad he tested positive,” Philippine Olympic Committee president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino stated on Saturday. “That’s one less medal—a potential gold at that—in our campaign.”

The Tokyo Olympian shared a silver medal within the males’s 4×100 meters freestyle relay and copped a bronze within the 50-m freestyle through the 2019 SEA Games, the place he logged nationwide data within the 50m freestyle (22.57 seconds) and the 50m butterfly (24.34 seconds).

Gebbie didn’t get previous the qualifying heats in Tokyo however set a Philippine document of 49.64 seconds within the 100m free.

The growth put a damper on the Philippine marketing campaign, which began with victories from the boys’s soccer squad and handball staff on Friday, drawing applause from commissioner Ramon Fernandez of the Philippine Sports Commission.

“We’re off to a good start,” stated Fernandez, Team Philippine’s chef de mission. “It’s a good sign for the entire Philippine delegation.”

Handball triumph

The males’s handball staff, made up of virtually the identical squad that bagged the bronze in 2019, produced an 18-16, 18-16 upset of Thailand at Tuan Chau Island in Quang Nihn province. The win got here on the heels of the Azkals Under-23’s 4-0 rout of Timor Leste at Viet Tri Stadium in Phu Tho.

The males’s nationwide soccer staff took a one-day break and can face defending champion and host Vietnam on Sunday in a troublesome check that would decide simply how far the younger Azkals can go on this match.

The Filipino seashore handball athletes, in the meantime, had been looking for a second consecutive victory and had been tackling Vietnam at press time.

“We’re going up in opposition to the host nation. Let’s hope and pray that we can maintain what now we have began,’’ stated Fernandez.

Three different Filipino athletes in kickboxing initially examined optimistic for the virus however had been cleared after a retest early final week.

Diving begins

Despite the setback suffered by the aquatics squad, the staff continues to be brimming with optimism as Filipino-American Ariana Drake competes at first of the diving occasions on Sunday at My Dinh Aquatics Center.

Philippine Swimming Inc. president Lani Velasco stated Drake will compete within the 1-meter springboard within the morning. After two days, Drake, the 17-year-old diver primarily based in Los Angeles, California, checks her abilities in opposition to the areas’ finest within the 3-m springboard.

“Ariana Drake is a young, up-and-coming diver,” Velasco stated. “It’s her first SEA Games and we hope she can adjust seamlessly. Of course, our goal is to land on the podium, but we also want to manage our expectations. It’s hard to win a medal with only one diver. Too bad we don’t have divers for synchro events.”

While the lack of Gebbie was a blow, a number of aquatics bets are able to step up within the hunt for medals.

“We have a good mix of veterans and first timers who we hope will figure in the mix for podium finishes,” Velasco stated.

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