Hanoi—Clinton Kingsley Bautista wasn’t expecting to win, but still went on to keep a firm stranglehold on his 110-meter crown as the Philippines’ athletics team raised its haul to three golds in the 31st Southeast Asian Games at the My Dinh National Stadium here on Monday.
Bautista, the only Filipino to ever win the 110-meter hurdles in the SEA Games, is now a proud owner of a second straight gold in the event, following record-smashing 13.78-second run that broke his own 13.97 set during the 2019 Philippine SEA Games.
The 29-year-old Bautista took the lead right on the get go and never let up despite knocking several hurdles along the way as he obliterated the field that included eventual runner-up Chen Xiang of Singapore (13.940) and third placer Natthaporn Dansungnoen (13.99) of Thailand.
“Hindi ko expected ito, kasi sila (Thai and Singaporean) ang may leading time bago itong SEA Games,” said Bautista, who was still scheduled to run in the men’s 4×100 later in the day.
Bautista’s feat was the third gold for the athletics’ contingent in the biennial meet, to go with Ernest John Obiena’s record-smashing performance in pole vault and William Morrison’s shotput triumph.
Pole vaulter Natalie Uy, complaining of numbness in both legs, wasn’t able to defend her crown though after three foul jumps, allowing Malaysian Nor Sarah Adi Binti to unseat the Fil-American from her throne.
“Hindi niya raw maramdaman ang legs niya, maaring pagod sa mahabang byahe,” said pole vault coach Emerson Obiena of Uy, who is based in Kettering, Ohio.