Fisherman son shines, sets new javelin record

SINGAPORE--A son of a fisherman from Iloilo made history in the 9th ASEAN Schools Games by not just clinching the Philippines’ 11th gold medal but also setting a new ASG record in javelin.

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

What made his feat remarkable was that Lozañes exceeded the 65m measurement distance set by the athletics technical ofricials here. 

“Akala siguro nila na hindi mabre-break yung record kaya ang measurement lang nila ng distance ay hanggang 65 meters lang (Maybe, they thought no one can beat the record this year so they set a measurement of only 65 meters),” said Anthony Valdez, one of the athletics coaches for Philippines.

Three months ago at the Binirayan Sports Complex in San Jose, Antique, the 17-year-old Iloilo native also broke a Palarong Pambansa record after he registered 59.46 in the 700g javelin throw event, topping the previous national meet's record which was set at 57.81 by Bryan Pacheco.

"Hindi ko iniexpect na malalagpasan ko ang record (I didn't expect to surpass the record)," said Lozañez, who is 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 ASEAN Schools Games as he is turning 18 this year. 

"Sobrang saya po pakinggan ang ating national anthem na tinutugtog during sa awarding (I was extremely happy hearing our national being played during the awarding rites)," he said.

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

On his first attempt, Lozañes registered a distance of 55m then followed by a 58m throw on his second.

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

"After nung nakuha ko yung 66.39m distance, umiiling na ang mga kalaban ko eh (After I recorded 66.39m, my rivals just shook their head in disbelief)," 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.

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

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

Lozañes stands to receive a P5,000 cash incentive from the Department of Education (Deped).

As of 8 p.m., Tuesday, the medal tally for Team Philippines stands at 11 golds, six silvers, and 16 bronze for the fifth place overall.

Swimming accounted for five gold medals, three of which courtesy of Maurice Sacho Ilustre who won in the boys 100m freestyle, boys 100m butterfly, and boys 200m freestyle.

Bhay Maitland Newberry, for her part, topped the girls 100m and 200m backstroke events.

Jerard Jacinto reigned supreme in the 100m backstroke.

Four gold medals came from the athletics events while another one from the gymnastics.

Indonesia is still in the lead with 19-21-17 with Thailand sneaking in at the second spot with 19-13-19.

Host country Singapore settles at the third spot with 17-19-19 while Vietnam came in fourth with 13-18-8. (PSC PR)

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BREAKTHROUGH. Iloilo native James Lozañes struck for an ASEAN Schools Games record-breaking distance of 66.39 in the boys javelin finals on Tuesday morning at the Bishan Stadium here. (JAMES LOZAÑES FACEBOOK PHOTO)