KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Marestella Torres Sunang had already secured the bronze medal in the women’s long jump when her Vietnamese opponent and gold medal winner accidentally injured her during the 2017 Southeast Asian Games here.
The 36-year-old told Rappler how Bui Thi Thu Thao came over to hug her immediately after the competition at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, when the Vietnamese stepped on Torres Sunang’s toes by accident.
Unfortunately, Torres Sunang had already removed her spiked shoes and the Vietnamese had not.
The result was a gaping hole right in the middle of Torres Sunang’s left second toe, straight through her nail, and a gash on her big toe.
The blood went rushing out and continues to do so as of posting time. Torres Sunang was carried out of the track oval on a stretcher straight to the clinic, where the wound was cleaned, the nail was re-arranged, and she was administered an anti-tetanus shot.
Bui Thi Thu Thao was extremely apologetic to Torres Sunang.
“Sobrang humingi talaga siya ng sorry tapos tinanggal niya sapatos niya sinampal sampal niya ‘yung paa niya sa harapan ko. Natawa nga ako,” Torres Sunang told Rappler on Friday, August 25, adding that her Vietnamese, Indonesia, and Malaysian opponents never left her side all throughout.
“Kasi natakot din siya kasi talagang dumugo ng husto ‘yung paa ko.”
(She repeatedly asked for forgiveness then she took off her shoes and kept slapping her foot in front of me. It made me laugh. She was scared, too, because there was plenty of blood.)
Torres Sunang, who was reduced to tears by the pain, did not show any signs of her injury when she climbed the podium for the awarding ceremony, which was delayed because, as it turned out, the Filipino athlete was still being treated.
“Naibaon niya talaga ‘yung nails (spiked shoes) niya sa kuko ko,” Torres Sunang explained. “Kung titignan mo, ‘yung kuko ko para talagang nilagyan ng pako sa gitna.”
(Her nails really dug right into my toenail. If you could see it, my toenail looks like a nail was rammed right throuht it in the middle.)
The SEA Games veteran and 3-time Olympian settled for the bronze after registering a distance of 6.45 meters. Four of her 6 attempts were ruled fouls. The other attempt was 6.41 meters.
Torres Sunang, who admitted she was completely injury-free and in good condition for her long jump competition, lamented the freak accident as she looks ahead to competing in the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan, which run from September 17-27.
“Sobrang nag-sorry naman siya sa akin,” said Torres Sunang, who is already able to laugh about the unfortunate incident and the weird hole in her toe. “Hindi naman din niya sinasadya.” (She kept saying sorry to me. She didn’t mean it.)
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