Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Mendoza: Again, all eyes on Yuka

YUKA Saso will resume her gold-winning ways when the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) will go full-blast tomorrow in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A double-gold medal winner (golf) in the recent Asian Games, Yuka is one of seven Filipinos entered among 3,997 elite athletes from 206 countries in the 18-and-under event.

Yuka, the 17-year-old from Bulacan who won the individual and team gold medals in the August Jakarta Asiad, will be the flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies on Sunday (PHL Time) for the country’s delegation headed by Patrick Gregorio, the secretary-general of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).

Other PHL officials are chef de mission and dragonboat president Jonne Go and Pauline Louise Lopez, the multiawarded Filipino taekwondo jin who was named YOG ambassador by the International Olympic Committee.

Yuka’s fellow warriors are Jann Mari Nayre (table tennis), Nicole Marie Tagle (archery), Carl Jano Corpus (boys’ golf), Lawrence Everett Tan (fencing), Nicole Justine Marie Oliva (swimming) and Christian Tio (kiteboarding).

Swimmer Oliva and kiteboarder Tio flew in from their base in the US to Buenos Aires.

Yuka and the four other combatants took the energy-sapping journey from Manila to Buenos Aires lasting almost two days.

I know the dizzy-laden trip. I experienced the same when I captained the Philippine squad to the World Team Golf Championship to Santiago, Chile, in 1998. Indeed, South America is so far that I told myself I’d never go there again—unless I had enough supply of “crazy water” to put me to sleep during the 48-hour or so air travel.

Anyway, good luck to the team. If only for the record, Yuka is gunning for her fourth straight gold medal after prevailing in the just-ended PAL Ladies Interclub in Davao in a huge follow-up to her twin golden feats in Jakarta.

With her super-length from the tee—plus luck, of course—I am almost confident Yuka will strike gold again to duplicate the lone gold medal won by archer Gab Moreno (the great daughter of my great friend, Fred Moreno) the last time we played in the Youth Olympiad.

To Yuka and the entire squad, all the best!


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