From swimming to downhill skateboarding, meet three of the local athletes gunning for gold in the 2019 SEA Games
Photo from Inquirer.net | Art by Tricia Guevara
One of the many great things about the SEA Games 2019, the biggest biennial tournament in the region, is seeing the rise of up-and-coming Filipino athletes you might not have heard of. From swimming to downhill skateboarding, here are a three stars to watch out for:
Alkhaldi is a 26-year-old swimmer who represented the Philippines in the London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics. She’s been a member of the national team for 10 years now and has won 12 SEA Games medals—two bronze medals in 2013, six bronze medals in 2015, and four bronze medals in 2017. This year, Alkhaldi will represent the flag in nine swimming events, in both individual and relay races.
“Gusto ko lang is better than the last SEA Games. I’ve had four bronze medals so I really want to change the color this time and maybe increase the number. I feel I can do better than I what I’ve done in the last SEA Games,” says Alkhaldi.
The swimming tournament will take place from Dec.4 to 9 at the New Clark City Aquatics Center.
Born and raised in Calamba, Laguna, Trinidad is an 18-year-old wakeboarder who has won four gold medals in the Philippine Cable Wakeboarding Championships. Just last February, Trinidad also bagged silver in the 10th International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation Cable Wakeboard World Championship held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The young athlete is one of the country’s biggest bets to win gold in the wakeboard competition on Dec. 6 at the Deca Wakeboard Park Angeles.
“Having the SEA Games here really helps us have a home court advantage because one, we get to train at the park [every day]. We get to adapt ourselves to how the park feels and so we [know] what it takes and what to do when it comes to the practices. In wakeboarding, all venues are different. So having trained in the wakeboard venue is really a huge advantage for us,” says Trinidad.
Jaime de Lange
De Lange, who is the top skater in the Philippines , will be representing the country in the downhill skateboard event. He’s won several championships both locally and internationally, has made four World Cup appearances, and is ranked as the highest racer in Asia. He is also currently world number 15.
“The Philippines has been dominant in skateboarding, especially in Asia, so the team and I are feeling really good. Other Asian countries haven’t had much international experience so with our international experience [to our advantage] we’re thinking gold or silver,” says de Lange.
The skateboard tournament will be held from Dec. 3 to Dec. 8 in Tagaytay.