Ilagan, Isabela—Southeast Asian Games veteran Kayla Richardson, newcomers Lauren Hoffman and Umajesty Williams and local bet Sara Dequinan took on world-class challengers, who tested their resolve in the ongoing the ICSTI Philippine Athletics Championships at the Ilagan Sports Complex here on Friday.
Richardson held her ground against Malaysian Olympic veteran Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli and snared the gold medal in 24.1 seconds in the women’s 200-meter finals.
Williams bagged his second medal, this time a silver after he pulled a hamstring halfway in the men’s 200-meter run in his joust with Tokyo Olympic veteran, Iraq’s Taha Hussein Yaseen, who claimed the gold in 21.20 seconds. Williams trailed in 21.4 seconds, while another Iraqi, Mohammed Al-Tameemi, was third (21.67) in the men’s 200-meter finals.
On the other hand, Hoffman moved closer to a second podium finish after dealing with another strong rival from Vietnam on Day 3.
This time, the 23-year-old Hoffman quickly took the lead and left behind Vietnamese national champion Nguyen Thi Ngoc in the women’s 400-meter hurdles heats and clocked 59.40 seconds for her effort.
Dequinan, who is recovering from a back injury, claimed the long-jump victory for her second gold after earlier topping the women’s heptathlon with 3046 points and outpacing Malaysian national champion Winnie Eng May Xin (2625).
The 24-year old Richardson said her training kicked in as she kept Zulkifli at bay from start to finish.
Richardson was close to her personal best she established last month at 24.01 seconds, which was a second off the national record that Kristina Knott set in 2019.
“That was my 100 percent for the day. But yeah, I’m happy with it,” said Richardson after Zulkifli, who saw action in the 2016 Rio Olympics, recorded a time of 24.17 seconds for the silver.
Richardson said her preparations for the Cambodian SEA Games continue as she tries to stay within range of 2022 SEA Games bronze medal time of 56.44, considered a national record.
On the other hand, Williams, who was also nursing tendinitis on his left achilles heel, said a silver medal finish was still fine with him.
“I’m okay with the silver. It’s my hamstring that I’m worried about,” said Williams, who earlier took the men’s gold in 47.15 seconds and hit the SEA Games’ silver-medal standard of 47.27 seconds in the men’s 200-meters.
Meanwhile, Hoffman said it was not her best time yet, as she is still saving her energy for a finals’ showdown with fellow Fil-American and 2022 Southeast Asian Games bronze medallist Robyn Brown, who reached the finish line in one minute and 84/100ths of a second.
“It wasn’t a perfect race. I just chilled with the heat and saved my legs for later,” said the 5’6” Hoffman, who earlier settled for a silver behind two-time Vietnamese national champion My Thien Huynh Thi in the women’s 100-meter hurdles finals on Day 1.