Cheers for ‘Otom bomb!’

SURAKARTA, Indonesia—Angel Otom bagged two more gold medals, including one in record-breaking time, to emerge as the country’s first triple gold medalist as the Philippine para swimmers emerged with four titles at the Jatidiri Sports Complex pool in Semarangi in the 11th Asean Para Games Thursday.

Picking up from where she left off, Otom was a runaway winner in the women’s 50-meter butterfly S5 event in 48.070 seconds, nearly eight seconds faster than the 17-year-old mark of 56.80 set by Singapore’s RT Goh in the Manila Asean Para Games in 2005.

Otom finished so far ahead of Vietnamese Thi Sari Nguyen and Thi My Thanh Dan, who were second and third with times of 1:14.150 and 1:32.460, respectively.

As an encore, the 19-year-old pride of Olongapo City added her second gold in the women’s 50-meter freestyle S5 event, leading from start to finish in clocking 41.40 seconds, much to the delight of her parents Marlou and Mila Otom, who flew all the way from Manila just to watch their daughter perform.

“I’m so happy but it has not sunk in yet that I’m the country’s first triple gold medalist,” said Otom of her outstanding achievement as a Para Games first timer.

“So this is how it feels to watch your daughter win,” chorused Otom’s parents who witnessed their daughter compete for the first time.

Ernie Gawilan scooped up his second gold medal in the men’s 200-meter individual medley SM7 also in record-breaking fashion in 2:49.530, sinking the 14-year-old standard of 4:00.02 set by Salungyoo Rawin of Thailand in the 2008 Bangkok Games.

A pleasant surprise was rookie Marco Tinamisan, who won the swimming team’s fourth gold medal in the men’s 50-meter freestyle S3 event in 54.660 seconds in the games supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.

Over at the Manahan Stadium, wheelchair racer Jerrold Mangliwan secured his second gold in the men’s 400-meter T5 race in 1:06.20 while teammate Rodrigo Potiotan Jr. finished third but did not get a medal because there were only three entries in the event. He clocked 1:09.870.

Gary Bejino lost by a touch to Thailand’s Aekkharin Noithatto and settled for a silver in the men’s 50m butterfly S6 event in 35.440 seconds to the Thai’s 35.300 seconds before securing another silver in the men’s 50m freestyle (34.40).

The duo of Russel Cundangan and Mary Ann Taguinod also took the silver in the J1-J2 women’s team event of judo.

With the combined five golds of athletics and swimming, the country raised its overall medal tally to 19 golds, 16 silvers and 34 bronzes, just one gold shy of the 20 golds a Philippine para team hauled in the 2017 edition in Kuala Lumpur.

The Philippines was poised to add another gold in the men’s P1 team event after FIDE Master Sander Severino and Jasper Rom downed their separate rivals in the fifth and penultimate round of chess at the Lo-rin Hotel.

With their victories, the Filipinos were assured of their fifth gold regardless of the outcome of the final round.