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SEAGAMES 2023

Javelin thrower gets help from janitor

Photograph by Ivan Suing for the Daily Tribune | TIME is on javelin thrower Gennah Malapit’s side.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Sixteen-year-old Gennah Malapit, the country’s biggest revelation in athletics in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games, revealed that a school janitor showed her the ropes while she was just starting in javelin throw.

The Grade 10 student of Ambassadors of Hope Christian Academy in Taytay, Rizal still remembers his name: Rigor Gernale.

“He’s really good,” she swore, adding she took up the sport when she was in Grade 4.

Malapit, making her SEAG debut, threw the spear to 49.55 meters to win the silver. The gold went to Thai Jariya Wichaidit who did 52.6 meters.

While her throw was still nowhere near the 53.75-meter national record of Geralyn Amandoron, the five-foot-nine find has time on her side to improve her technique.

She said she was surprised with her performance.

“I was just here for the experience. I didn’t expect to get a medal at all,” said Malapit who has committed to play for Adamson University in college.

With the guidance of veteran coach Danilo Fresnido, she said she hopes to improve on her performance in future meets.

Another rookie who made a good impression was weightlifter Angeline Colonia who won the silver in the women’s 45-kilogram division.

That Colonia ended up with the sport was a no-brainer. Her brother Nestor saw action in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. Their family also hails in Zamboanga City, hometown of Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz.

Angeline picked up the sport again during the Covid-19 pandemic because she had nothing to do.

“I had nothing to do back at home apart from school. So I decided to give it a try,” said Colonia, who is turning 17 on 22 May.

“He (Nestor) has been helping me out with my training. He just kept telling me to keep it up so that I can go far in my career,” she said

Colonia lifted a total of 148kgs to place second behind Myanmar’s Mya Zin Oo who heaved 164 kgs.

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