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SINGAPORE – The old vanguards of Philippine athletics made the country proud anew as veteran steeplechaser Rene Herrera and Southeast Asian Games long jump record-holder Henry Dagmil bagged gold and a silver, respectively, in the 72nd Singapore Open Track and Field Championships over the weekend at Bukid Gombak Stadium here.

Herrera, the reigning SEA Games champion, overwhelmed his rivals with a time of nine minutes and 12.92 seconds.

Finishing a far second was Ronghua Shi of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore with a 10:48.64 performance while fellow Singaporean Chin Yang Chua clocked 11:11.17.

Dagmil, whose 7.81 meter jump remained undisputed in SEAG since 2005 and gold medal winner the third leg of the Asian Grand Prix in Chennai, India last June 9, jumped his way to a second-best distance of 7.40 meters, .29 meters short of his best record he posted four months ago.

Japan’s Rikiya Saruyama, the gold medal winner in the 2010 Asian Athletics Indoor Championships in Tehran, Iran last February, recorded 7.64 meters. The bronze medal went to Singapore Armed Forces member Matthew Goh, who established 7.01 meters.

Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA) president Go Teng Kok expressed satisfaction on his wards’ performance, especially on Dagmil, who has recovered from an injury that hampered his bid to grab the gold in the 2009 Laos SEA Games.

“This is part of our buildup for the Asian Games. We have time on our side and we’ll use it to compete abroad for the needed exposures,” said Go.

Eight trackers will be seeing action in the Guangzhuo meet slated Nov. 12-27. Joining   Dagmil and Herrera in the squad are female long jumper Marestella Torres, SEAG record holder in hammer throw Arniel Ferrera, javelin throwers Danilo Fresnido and Rosie Villarito and long-distance runners Eduardo Buenavista and Jho-An Banayag.

Minus Torres, who is currently training in Germany, the rest will be sent to compete in the Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand Open Invitational meets.

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