Pinoy athlete shatters ASEAN Schools Games record in javelin throw

July 28, 2017 - 5:46 PM

A son of a fisherman from Iloilo made history in the 9th Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Schools Games (ASG) by setting a new ASG record in javelin throw.

James Lozañes, a Grade 11 student of Estancia National High School, registered a distance of 66.39 meters in the 700g javelin throw, eclipsing the previous ASG record of 62.28m which was set in 2015.

This feat was even more remarkable when Lozañes exceeded the 65-meter measurement distance set by the ASG athletics technical officials.

“Akala siguro nila na hindi mabe-break yung record kaya ang measurement lang nila ng distance ay hanggang 65 meters lang,” said Anthony Valdez, one of the athletics coaches for the Philippines.

Journey to success

Three months ago at the Binirayan Sports Complex in San Jose de Buenavista, Antique, the 17-year-old Iloilo native also broke the Palarong Pambansa record after he registered 59.46 meters in the 500g javelin throw event, topping the previous national meet’s record set at 57.81 meters by Bryan Pacheco.

“Hindi ko ini-expect na malalagpasan ko ang record,” said Lozañes, who was playing in his first international competition.

It was indeed a magical end to Lozañes’ campaign as he made the most of his first and last stint in the ASG as he is turning eighteen this year.

To participate in the ASG, athletes must be 18 years old or younger on January 1 of the year of the games, and be full-time students in their respective ASEAN countries.

“Sobrang saya po pakinggan ang ating national anthem na tinutugtog during awarding,” he proudly said.

Lozañes came from a far-flung municipality in Iloilo province, but he never shied away from the limelight, and outperformed Tingjia Wang of Singapore (59.76m) and Pornpraphan Dechochai (59.49m). Wang snatched the silver while Dechochai secured the bronze.

On his first attempt, Lozañes registered a distance of 55 meters then followed by a 58-meter throw.

“Hindi pa kasi ako galit nun (I was still not angry at that time),” Lozañes said with a smile.

“After nung nakuha ko yung 66.39-meter distance, umiiling na ang mga kalaban ko,” said the second to the youngest child of Jinky, housewife, and Marianeto, fisherman.

Lozañes said he was dedicating the gold medal to his supportive parents.

He was hooked into the sport when he was still 10 years old. He was influenced by his former coach from Bulwangan Elementary School to venture into javelin.

He immediately displayed his potential in the sport after he won the gold medal in a Unit Meet.

“Malugod po nating binabati ang ating atletang si James Lozañes mula sa Iloilo na lumahok at buong pusong lumaban para sa Pilipinas. Isa pong kahanga-hangang performance ito mula sa ating atleta sa pagkat hindi lamang niya nakuha ang ika-labing isang (11th) gintong medalya para sa Pilipinas kundi ay gumawa pa ng isang kasaysayan sa ASEAN games at sa ating bansa,” DepEd Assistant Secretary and Senior Ministry Official Tonisito M.C. Umali, Esq. said.

Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones gave her full support to the 224-strong Philippine contingent. The education chief is very passionate with dreams and reforms for sports in order to be at par with neighboring regions.Through the help of Secretary Briones, James, along with other medalists from DepEd, will receive a cash incentive.

“Si James po ay isang patunay na saan mang sulok ng bansa tayo nagmula o anuman ang estado o kalagayan natin sa buhay ay hindi ito hadlang sa maaari nating gawin para sa ating sarili at sa bansa. You made the Philippines proud, James! Sana ay marami pang katulad mo ang patuloy mangarap, lumahok sa mga patimpalak sa larangan ng sports, at ipakita ang galing ng atletang Pilipino,” Umali declared.

Philippine Sports Commissioner (PSC) and Senior Ministry Official Charles Raymond Maxey also expressed his admiration to James. He said that a record breaking performance does not come everyday and it is really something to be proud of.

The ASG, organized by the ASEAN Schools Sports Council (ASSC), aims to promote ASEAN solidarity among youths while providing opportunities for student-athletes to benchmark their sporting talents. This year’s theme is “Together as ONE,” representing the goal of ASEAN’s youths to achieve solidarity through school sports, friendly competition and cultural exchange. The students will compete in the following sports: athletics, badminton, basketball, gymnastics, sepak takraw, swimming, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, and tenpin bowling.

Singapore hosted the annual ASG for the second time since its introduction in 2009. This year’s event coincided with ASEAN’s 50th anniversary and the first time all 10 member-countries—Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and first-timer Myanmar— competed together.