Christine Hallasgo looks to reclaim SEA Games marathon gold – rezal404

Christine Hallasgo in women's marathon.  SEA GAMES POOL

FILE – Christine Hallasgo in women’s marathon. SEA GAMES POOL

PHNOM PENH—Christine Hallasgo easily got over a piercing defeat in the previous Southeast Asian Games when Indonesia’s Odekta Elvina Naibaho snagged her marathon title.

But the 2019 champion won’t let it slip from memory.

“I will do the best I can to reclaim the gold,” said Hallasgo, ready for the lung-busting contest early Saturday morning set in Siem Reap where the majestic Angkor Wat serves as background along the 42km route.

Hallasgo aims to reclaim her crown against Naibaho and 2021 Hanoi bronze medalist Ngoc Hoa Hoang Thi of Vietnam with the help of a new teammate in Ruffa Sorongon.

“We checked out the course. I hope it won’t be as hot as they have predicted,” said the 30-year-old Hallasgo, a pride of Malaybalay, Bukidnon.

The heat index is expected to rise to at least 39 degrees Celsius with Richard Salano and Arlan Arbois aiming to upstage defending men’s marathon champion Hoang Nguyen Thanh of Vietnam in a field made promising with the absence of Thailand’s Tony Ah-Thit Payne.

A naturalized runner from New Zealand, Payne wound up with the bronze in Hanoi last year, but missed this year’s edition after sustaining an injury during training in Bangkok.

EJ Obiena attempts a leap during the 31st SEA Games men's pole vault competition.  SEA GAMES POOL PHOTO

EJ Obiena attempts a leap during the 31st SEA Games men’s pole vault competition. SEA GAMES POOL PHOTO

After Saturday’s marathon races, track and field will be played at the Morodok Techo National Stadium here from May 8 to 12 with the men’s pole vault finals featuring world No. 3 Ernest John Obiena on Monday a sure gold for the country.

“Overall, the team is ready. Arriving here early has its benefits. We didn’t have to hurry as our athletes settled down gradually before the competitions,” said Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association secretary general Edward Kho.

According to Kho, Filipino tracksters have a modest target of three golds, but are looking to surpass their five-gold output last year in Hanoi.

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