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Phl counts on Umajesty in seeking Asiad greatness

Already on the top of their game, members of the Philippine 4X400 relay team hope to better themselves and land in the podium on Wednesday in the 19th Asian Games.(PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF LUIS VENIEGRA)

HANGZHOU, China — Bannered by a runner whose name is synonymous to greatness, the Philippines’ 4X400 men’s relay team stormed to the finals of the 19th Asian Games lining itself up against the best in the region on Thursday.

Umajesty Williams, the Fil-American recruit responsible for the Southeast Asian Games gold, provided the anchor for the Nationals who registered a new Philippine record of three minutes and 6.15 seconds during Tuesday’s heats at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium.

Williams led the charge of the Philippines with a team-best 44.16 seconds, followed by athletic great Isidro del Prado’s son, Michael, who timed 45.88. Joyme Sequita and Frederick Ramirez provided decent support at 46.74 and 49.37, respectively.

The relay squad bettered its 3:07.22 clocking in winning the recent SEAG.

It also broke the 38-year-old Philippine benchmark of 3:06.58 established during the Bangkok SEA Games by the elder Del Prado, Honesto Larce, Marlon Pagalilayan and Romeo Gido.

The Philippines will face Thailand (national record 3:06.96), Iraq (NR 3:07.58), Bahrain (NR 3:06.2), South Korea (NR 3:04.03), India (NR 3:03.81), Sri Lanka (3:06.60) and Qatar (NR 3:01.00).
Starting gun fires 8:35 p.m.

Also on Wednesday, the women’s 4×400 Philippine team of Fil-heritage athletes Lauren Hoffman, Robyn Brown, Angel Frank and Maureen Schrijvers clash with fellow Southeast Asian rivals Thailand and SEA Games champion Vietnam in the finals slated at 8:15 p.m.

Also in the finals are India, Bahrain, Sri Lanka and Mongolia.

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