Hosts the Philippines on Friday made off with all of the obstacle course gold at the Southeast Asian Games with wins in the men’s and women’s 5km category.
Mervin Guarte and Sandi Abahan jumped, swung and clambered their way to victory in the 20-obstacle race in Manila, completing a six-out-of-six haul for the home team in the event’s SEA Games debut.
Philippine racers Sherwin Managil and Glorien Merisco took both silvers in the outdoor event at Filinvest City, which included a balance beam, tilting ladder, monkey bar and a slip wall covered in water.
About 8,750 athletes and officials are taking part in the regional Olympics spread across dozens of venues in the northern Philippines, which was hit by a deadly typhoon earlier this week.
The marathon kicked off the athletics program at the Games’ main hub in New Clark City, where Filipina runner Christine Hallasgo caused a major upset by edging compatriot Mary Joy Tabal to take gold.
Hallasgo pulled away in the final stretch to beat the reigning SEA Games champion by two minutes in 2 hours, 56 minutes, 56 seconds.
Indonesian Prayogo Agus won the men’s race with a time of 2:26:48, ahead of Thailand’s Namkhet Sanchai (2:27:18) and Malaysia’s Mohamad Muhaizar (2:33:08).
The 11-country Games, featuring a record 56 sports, were rocked by Typhoon Kammuri which forced about half of Tuesday’s events to be rescheduled.
Despite 13 deaths in the storm, none of the athletes, officials or 12,000 volunteers was reported hurt and a full program resumed on Wednesday.
Later on Friday, Olympic champion Joseph Schooling was to return to the pool in his bid to rebound from a disappointing silver in the 50m butterfly.
Schooling, who won six gold at the last Games in 2017, lost his 50m title to fellow Singaporean Teong Tzen Wei late on Thursday.
Just eight months from the Tokyo Olympic Games, Schooling, 24, hoped to hit back in his prefered 100m butterfly — which he famously won ahead of Michael Phelps at the Rio Summer Olympic Games in 2016.
Six more golds were up for grabs on Friday at the aquatics center in New Clark City, the Games’ main hub north of Manila, including the women’s 200m freestyle and women’s 3m springboard diving.
The Philippines remained in firm control of the medals table on Friday with 67 golds — well up on its 2017 total of 24.
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