PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Veteran tanker Jasmine Alkhaldi cherished the opportunity of another tour of duty in the Southeast Asian Games.
But of all the biennial meets she has competed in, the 29-year-old swimmer had the most fun in this Phnom Penh edition, playing the role of mentor to a new generation of Pinay pool stars including gold medalists Xiandi Chua and Teia Salvino.
“Out of all the SEA Games, some are great for their own respective reasons but this has been the most fun SEA Games I have been to and it’s crazy that at 29 years old, I’m hanging out with a 17-year-old and we get along really well,” Alkhaldi said.
Never mind that the gold medal eluded Alkhaldi once again.
Alkhaldi snagged four silver medals (4×100-meter women’s freestyle relay, women’s 4x100m medley relay, mixed 4x100m medley relay and women’s 100m freestyle) and three bronze medals (women’s 50m butterfly, women’s 100m butterfly and women’s 200m 4×200 freestyle relay) in her Cambodia campaign.
“I think after all these years, I think the color doesn’t matter anymore,” Alkhaldi said.
Alkhaldi could’ve won gold in the 2013 Naypyidaw edition in Myanmar but a re-swim following a false start had her settling for bronze.
The two-time Olympian is now putting her focus on qualifying for the Paris Olympics albeit this time being a part of the Philippines’ relay team.
“Personally, I have already achieved my dream but if it’s to have other girls go in a relay, I’ll definitely train hard and swim for it,” Alkhaldi said.
“It would be cool, the first (Philippine) women’s relay (team) to qualify for the Olympics so we’ll see.”