Marathon Selection Methodology: Bertek and Master Endurance
The Philippines had four strong candidates for the Marathon selection. 2009 SEA Games Champion and Philippine Record Holder, Eduardo Buenavista who missed out on the 2013 SEA Games selections for not having ran the standard, in the Milo Marathon competition around the same time in Manila clocked 2:27:11 to beat the winning time of SEA Games Champion Mok Ring Yen 2:28.36. Buenavista in Hong Kong would go onto really secure his place in the team when he dished out a time of 2:24:11 in Hong Kong. This would ensure the now 37 year old Buenavista would have the chance to try and regain the SEA Games title he last won six years ago.
The second spot in the selection process was really more difficult, Eric Panique who was a bronze medalist with 2:30:30 at the 2013 SEA Games, but was not able to improve his performance leading up to the SEA Games. Irinio Raquin who had ran 2:31:15 at the 2014 Milo Eliminations.
Panique looked secure for the second spot until things became more complicated when a distance runner who moved upto the Marathon won the 2014 Milo Finals in December. Rafael ‘Master Endurance’ Poliquit the 2013 PNG Champion in the 5000 and 10000m who was previously coached by master coach Rosito Andaya but had since moved to 2001 SEA Games Champion and National Coach Roy Vence.
At the Milo Marathon Poliquit won in a best time of 2:32:29, from Buenavista, Raquin and Panique. The choice was now between Panique the Bronze medalist and ‘The Master’ Poliquit. The coaches at first voted for Panique but at a later coaches meeting chose ‘The Master’ due to the fact he was showing better shape despite not hitting the 2:30.30 bronze medal standard.
The Philippines for its part has had alot of Marathon Champions in Men’s De La Torre (1981), Suizo (1989,1991), Vence (01) Ballester (03), Buenavista (07).
Now Buenavista and Poliquit both have a shot at joining this legacy. While Buenavista is a big chance to regain his gold looking at the standings Poliquit is likely to pace Buenavista but he is ranked 9th out of the 12 athletes so it will be tough to land a medal here.
With SEA Champion Mok Ying Ren out due to injury, its his countryman Soh Rui Yong who still step up the Oregon based student will be defending the honor in front of his home crowd. His best time is 2:26.01 the second fastest in the field after Bertek ‘Buenavista’.
A duo of very fast Vietnamese who were in a local race in Vietnam were 4 men dipped under 2h30 will represent Vietnam Nguyen and Bui both have best times of 2:26. Ofcourse former SEA Games 5000 and 10000m champion Boonthung from Thailand and we cant forget 2013 SEA Games runner up Thaung Aye of Myanmar will also be very strong in this race.