ILAGAN, Isabela – Hometown bet Wally Gacusan captured one of the country’s first three silver medals yesterday even as Vietnam reaped four gold medals at the start of the 12th Southeast Asian Youth Athletics Championships at the City of Ilagan Sports Complex here.
The 17-year-old Gacusan, the youngest son of farmers, debuted in the international scene by settling for a runner-up finish in the boys’ high jump with a leap of 1.81 meters.
“Ito yung pinakamataas na medal na nakuha ko kaya masaya po ako at dito ko nakuha,” said the 5-foot-9 Gacusan, whose previous best career feat was a bronze medal at the 4x100m relay in the 2016 Palarong Pambansa in Albay.
Gacusan, a Grade 11 student at the Santa Isabel National High School in Ilagan City, finished behind eventual gold medalist Vo Ngoc Long Cao of Vietnam (2.0m) and ahead of bronze winner Janmell Gervacio (1.71m).
Jason Jabol and Bernalyn Bejoy also gave Team Philippines the other two silvers in the boys’ long jump (6.99m) and girls’ 8000m (2 minutes, 16.22 seconds), respectively.
Vietnam currently leads the medal tally with four gold medals courtesy of the record-breaking performance of Thu Hang Doan and Thi Khanh Ny Ngo in the girls’ 3000m and girls’ 800m, respectively.
Doan timed 10:18.59 to eclipse the four-year-old tournament record of compatriot Truong Thi Thuy Kieu (10:34.14) set in Vietnam.