ISABELA, Philippines – Sprinters Angel Frank and Umajesty Williams lead the “Filipino-Heritage” athletes – foreign competitors with Filipino roots – in a dominant show of speed and skill on the opening day of the Philippine Athletics Championships on Wednesday, March 22, here at Ilagan Sports Complex.
With their sights set on securing spots in the national team for a chance to compete in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia this May, Frank and Williams proved they have what it takes to bring home the gold.
“This is a nice birthday gift for me – to be here for the first time in my country, and then represent, and win. So it’s a really cool experience for me,” said Frank, who turned 22 as the Filipino-American ruled the women’s 400m event with a time of 53.69 seconds.
“It’s definitely [a goal] to be part of the national team. I know I had to go through it the way that every Filipino citizen and person does it – running at the national meet. So, I decided this is the best way to do it.”
Williams, who’s still recovering from an Achilles tendonitis injury, also impressed and topped the men’s 400m after clocking 47.15 seconds.
“I didn’t get to see the clock. It wasn’t my best race by any means [since] I’m coming off like a little injury, but we’re working through it,” said the Arizona Wildcat alumnus.
“So I’m getting healthier every day. But I don’t think it was bad considering [the injury]. But I do have a lot of room to improve and I look forward to improving.”
Williams, who is also competing in the 200m event, feels confident that he can pull through again in his next race.
“It’s reassuring. It helps build my confidence to let me know that I can do anything that I set my mind to,” he said.
“And with the right mental state, the right training and the right healthy habits, I can achieve what I want to.”
Frank, a Charleston, South Carolina student, shared how the competitive field surprised her.
“There were a lot of foreign participants, but it definitely surprised me to see how many people came, especially from different nations, and I think it added more excitement and just hype to run fast and represent my school and the Philippines well,” she said.
Also delivering a golden performance like Frank and Williams is John Cabang, a Spanish-born Filipino who clocked an impressive 14.35 seconds to stun SEA Games record holder Clinton Bautista (14.40s) in the men’s 110m hurdles.
Lauren Hoffman (13.72s) placed second in the women’s 100m hurdles next to Vietnamese Hunh Thi My Tien (13.59s), while Danae Manibog (54.73s) finished next to Frank in the 400m sprint. – Rappler.com
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