Meet the formidable force that will take Philippine athletics’ name to greater heights in the region. Caleb Stuart, Christopher Ulboc, EJ Obiena, Pach Unso, and Jesson Cid prepare for 2016 Ayala Philippine National Open-Invitational Athletics Championships and pursue their personal bests with the help of ASICS Time.
Time stops for no one and nothing. We can only go with its flow. Set a goal and a deadline, make it happen. You choose what you do with time: you act on a dream because you badly want it, or you slack off and watch an opportunity pass you by.
ASICS Time Philippines was quick to notice how up-and-coming athletic stars Caleb John Stuart, Christopher Ulboc, Ernest John Obiena, Patrick Unso, and Jesson Ramil Cid seize the moment. After reaping medals for the country during the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore last June 2015, they are gearing up for Olympic qualifiers, and the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia.
“ASICS Time is on a constant quest to look for and support young athletes with great potential,” says ASICS Time Philippines marketing manager Judith Staples. “Athletes of Olympic caliber aren’t made overnight. We want to hone them to be the standard when the sport is mentioned,” she adds. Japan-based ASICS Time is a globally recognized brand for watches specially designed for athletes.
These five athletes aren’t wasting any time. Every second of training counts and they’re working consistently to meet or even exceed that qualifying mark that will gain them a spot in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016.
STUART (NOT-SO) LITTLE
The Philippines takes pride in Caleb John Christian Stuart, 25, for his gold in the hammer throw at the 28th SEA Games last June. He smashed the regional record by setting a 65.63-m mark in hammer throw which replaced the 2013 record of 62.23-m set by Thailand’s Tantipong Phetchaiya.
Stuart, a former basketball and football player in his high school years, had never competed in track and field until he qualified in 2009 to be part of the University of California in Berkeley, excelling at the hammer throw. The 6’2” athlete is Filipino by way of his mother Rowena Pineda-Stuart from Pampanga.
He was invited to join the national team through his older sister Morgan who was part of the Philippine softball team. Their mother Rowena invited coach Randy Dizer to lunch at home and this was where he discovered Stuart’s pictures and awards from various athletics meets.
“The coaches suggested me to some of the national coaches of the Philippine athletics team. After I sent my marks, they were willing to meet with me and offer me a spot on the team,” Stuart says. His training goals include qualifying for the Rio Olympics, competing in the upcoming Asian Games 2018, and scoring golds in the 2017 SEA Games.
“I have been doing a lot of heavy training and that will start to get lighter in a couple of months so I can feel fresh for competition,” he says.
For Stuart, the biggest challenge he faced as in training for the hammer throw was holding himself accountable for the results of his performances and motivating himself. “Coach Shaun McGinley has been the major factor to how well I am throwing now. He helped me gain a far greater understanding of the event, learn to stay patient with training, and enjoy the process.”
When he became a part of the Philippine National Team last year, this rekindled his love for the country. “My greatest dream as an athlete is to compete in the Olympics and get an Olympic medal for the Philippines and make the country proud,” he says.
ALL BOW TO ULBOC
It was on Philippine Independence Day last year when Christopher Ulboc, 25, garnered the 24th gold medal for the country during the 28th SEA Games in Singapore. The crowd went wild when he suddenly picked up speed and stole the lead from Vietnam’s Tien San Pham at the final water jump with only 0.83 seconds to spare. In the last 100 meters of the race, he stepped on the gas and breezed past the Viet, glancing back for a second before crossing the finish line.
He set a personal best of eight minutes and 59.7 seconds and defended his title in the men’s
3,000-m steeplechase. “I was the defending champion so sobra ang pressure. Binabantayan kasi ako,” he said. He celebrated his win by stripping off his uniform top, kneeling and raising his arms in triumph, and holding the Philippine flag.
The Air Force personnel began his athletic journey by joining local fun runs in his home town Tangub City in Misamis Occidental. “Wala akong plano sa national but one day nakausap ko isang coach to train with them sa national team. In two years, I qualified to be part of the training pool,” he says.
He was studying in Far Eastern University and found it a challenge juggling his time between training and finishing two theses.
To survive the athlete’s demanding lifestyle the most important things to observe are self discipline, proper diet, enough rest, and a proper mindset, says Ulboc. “I believe I can,” he adds.
“In terms of training, nasa Phase 2 na kami, more on endurance and speed. Not yet very serious but more on running form and proper breathing,” he says. Ulboc does two to three hours of speed workouts daily. “I listen to my body. I obey my coach and the doctors especially when I feel something is wrong. They are like my best friend and parents who guide me when I’m away from home,” he adds.
Despite the determination in his voice and his eyes, he remains modest. “Gusto ko magbigay karangalan nationally and internationally. I see myself as a successful man,” Ulboc says.
ANOTHER OBIENA LEGEND
Ernest John Obiena’s foray into pole vaulting can be traced to his younger days when he watched his father, Philippine pole vault legend Emerson Obiena, train. “It’s the main reason I got hooked,” says Obiena, now 20. “Even though the [pole vault] path was there, I tried hurdles because there was no pole vault competition for my age that time.”
In 2009, the then 13-year-old Obiena experienced his first international competition together with the Philippine Vault Club Team at the Taiwan Indoor Pole Vault Championship. He cleared 3.0 meters and set a new personal best. Eight years later, on March 23, 2016, in that same venue, he cleared 5.40 meters for a silver medal and produced a National Junior record. “This is the most memorable event for me,” he says.
During the PATAFA weekly relay in July 20, 2014, he broke the national record by registering 5.01 meters, a height that finally replaced the 5.0-m record of Edward Lasquete at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. A week later, Obiena then exceeded the PATAFA record with a 5.05-m mark.
At the 28th SEA Games in Singapore last year, he snatched the silver medal with a heartbreaking 5.25-m mark. However, in the 2016 Philippine National Games Finals in Pangasinan, he again broke his personal record with 5.47 meters, despite problems with a broken pole.
“I hope to qualify for Rio. I hope this is the right time I will be able to jump the standard,” says Obiena, referring to the qualifying standard of clearing at least 5.60 meters. Obiena will be training again in Italy this year with Coach Vitaliy Petrov.
Time is of the essence for Obiena. When in Italy, he trains from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon then resumes at 4:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. In the Philippines, he starts training from 7:00 a.m. until 12 noon. He’s in school by 1:00 p.m. and returns to training from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
What keeps him grounded and motivated? “I try to look at myself through someone else’s eyes. By doing so, I can visualize what I am doing and fix what needs to be fixed,” he says.
Obiena’s remarkably fast improvements prove that he is not settling for less. Time can only tell what higher greater heights he will reach.
ALL IN GOD’S WILL
For Patrick “Pach” Unso, 23, everything including success happens because of “God’s will.” He also looks up to his dad, Renato Unso, PATAFA secretary general and Philippine
400-m hurdles record-holder (51.26) at the 1983 SEA Games.
Since 2011, Unso has reset the Philippine record of for the 110-meter hurdles. In his second year in De La Salle University, he broke the national record of 110-m hurdles at the 2011 SEA Games. Last March 2015, he set a 14.8 seconds personal best during the Palarong Pambansa and shattered this at 14.28 seconds in the 2015 SEA Games.
Unso is addicted to sports. “I’ve done and tried most sports that you can think of: basketball, football, gymnastics, boxing, surfing, golf, tennis, table tennis. I truly believe that sports hones not just the body but also the mind,” he says. He embodies ASICS’ mantra of “a sound mind in a sound body.”
“In running, time is everything. Winners aren’t judged by how graceful your form is, though with better form, you get better results. Only who is faster matters,” Unso says.
A positive outlook in life keeps him grateful for the opportunities coming his way. His dad is his number 1 inspiration. “He had nothing. He built everything he has today through sports. I admire his hard work and dedication as an athlete and as my mentor.”
Unso believes in “paying it forward” by serving as an inspiration to younger athletes. It’s his tribute to the people who helped make his dreams come true.
He slays the game not just once, twice, or thrice but 10 times. This is how decathlete Jesson Ramil Cid’s life is different from that of other track and field athletes. At 24, he’s making his mark as one of the best Filipino decathletes ever.
Decathlon consists 10 track and field events spread over a two-day competition: 100-m relay, long jump, shot put, high jump, the 400-m relay, 110-m relay, long jump, shot put, high jump, the 400-m relay, 110-m hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1,500-m relay.
During the 27th SEA Games in Myanmar in 2013, he broke past 7,000 points and snatched the gold, and set the Philippine record of 7,038 points, earning him the nickname “Golden Boy of Southeast Asia.”
His resolute spirit was put to a test last year when he suffered from a series of minor surgeries on his knee and Achilles tendon while training for the 28th SEA Games. He still managed to take home a silver medal despite the surgeries.
“My mind was telling me that I can still run, I can still compete, I can still win,” he recalled. Though my body wasn’t cooperating with me, I believed that God will restore my strength.”
Cid follows a rigid six-hour daily training schedule under the wing of coach Sean Guevara. At least four months is needed to prepare an athlete for a competition. “This period is broken down to two phases: the General Preparation Phase and Specific Preparation Phase,” Guevara says.
Mastering 10 disciplines in one major sport is no easy feat. This requires serious and systematic training and strict time management. An incredibly accurate timekeeping device is imperative for an athlete to maximize training and never put even one second to waste.
The number one element to be taken into consideration in athletics is time. An athlete is only as good as his previous time. Through ASICS sports watches, athletes gain a better training experience. Because timing and winning are good as one.
ASICS TIME: Specially designed for world-class athletes
ASICS AH01 HRM
> Measures and displays the Anaerobic Threshold (AT) heart rate of runner in real time using the proprietary algorithm developed by ASICS Institute of Sport Science
> Used in combination with the chest strap supplied with the watch having a built-in heart rate sensor
Battery life: approx. 2 years
ASICS AG01 GPS
> Measures distance, speed, and pace
> Data management by dedicated application
> Highly visible liquid crystal display
> 10-hour GPS operation
> Available colors: black, blue, white, red
L TimeStudio is a retail arm of ASICS sports watches, a staunch supporter of our National Athletics Team and 28th SEA Games medalists.
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