I have been following the 25th SEA Games with interest especially the athletics.  While there have been disappointments–from the sad story of a female cyclist “urged” to join her male teammates to protest a ruling barring them from competition to the gold medal drought in diving allegedly due to poor judging favoring atheletes from another Southeast Asian country–the triumphs of Eduardo Buenavista and Jho-an Banayag are definitely sight for sore eyes.

Eduardo Buenavista

Jho-an Banayag after the Milo Marathon (from philstar.com)

Buenavista beat defending Men’s Indonesian champion Yahuza by 46 seconds with a time of 2:21:10.  In the distaff side, Banayag unseated another 2007 champion in the person of Sunisa Sailomyen of Thailand with a time of 2:46:34.

While the country will find it hard to duplicate its 2007 41 gold medal finish in the Laoatian capital Vientiane edition of the biennial meet, the Filipino runners certainly stamped their marathon class in dominating the event in the region.

Buenavista’s best time is 2:18:44 when he finished 14th overall in the Beppu Oita marathon in Japan while Banayag holds a 2:44:41 PR.

With proper support and exposure (and hopefully less politicking), I’m sure Filipino athletes, espcially long distance runners, can excel beyond southeast Asia.