Pacific Daily News from Agana Heights, Guam on June 23, 2012 · Page A28
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Pacific Daily News from Agana Heights, Guam · Page A28

Agana Heights, Guam
Issue Date:
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Page A28
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SPORTS Saturday, June 23, 2012 28 75¢ on Guam 34 DAYS TO GO By Jojo Santo Tomas Pacific Daily News The three swimmers and two runners announced yesterday makes it eight athletes bound for the Olympics, which start July 27 in London, England. Chris Duenas, who swam the 100-meter sprint for Guam in the Beijing Olympics four years ago, returns to the Olympic arena with much more experience. He and Pilar Shimizu earned “universality” slots — filling the one male, one female spots automatically granted to each participating country. The third swimmer, Benjamin Schulte, earned his way into the Games by picking up an unused qualifying slot by New Zealand at an Olympic qualifier in Se- tubal, Portugal. The universality allotments for track and field go to Derek Mandell — who also ran in Beijing — and Amy Atkinson. Both athletes will compete in the 800-meter run. The swimmers and runners join three Olympians announced two weeks ago. Super-heavyweight ju- doka R.J. Blas and wrestler Maria Dunn also make return appearances to the Games, with their Beijing experiences far behind them. Mountain biker Derek Horton, who also represented Guam at the Games in Sydney in 2000, makes a triumphant return to the Summer Games after an excellent performance earlier this year at the Oceania Mountain Bike Championships in New Zealand. Dunn was given a spot by the International Wrestling Federation, one of just three slots available globally. However, she has continued to rack up international medals in competition. Coaches, officials The Guam National Olympic Committee also announced the coaches for each sport. Art Guerrero will coach in cycling, while former Guam Olympian Brent Butler will oversee athletics. Swim coach Ed Ching makes yet another trip to the Olympics, as does former national athlete Atef Hussein, who will coach Blas in judo. Roy Woods is Dunn’s coach. Dunn took advantage of sport scholarships to get a big head start: She’s been training in the United Kingdom since late last year, taking breaks only for competition. Rounding out the rest of the Guam contingent are chef de mission Roger Wahl and press attaché Tony Thompson. Physiotherapist Chris Fernandez, a former Guam national basketball player, will assist team doctor Jose Canlas. GNOC president Ricardo Blas as well as secretary-general Bob Steffy also will head to the Games. By Ron Ige Pacific Daily News Guam will field one of the largest contingents at the 2012 Oceania Championships scheduled for Wednesday to Friday in Cairns, Australia. “We just want to thank ... all the parents for helping us raise funds for the trip. We want to also thank the athletes for continuously helping to help officiate the 5Ks as fundraisers,” Guam Track and Field Association president Jay Antonio said. “Most of the countries are only bringing four athletes. Because we do the fundraisers and because of the parents, we were able to bring 16 athletes.” Antonio will serve as assistant coach to head coach Eladio Manansala in Cairns. The team is scheduled to leave tomorrow and will return July 2, Antonio said. The 16 athletes and their events: John Aquino: 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs. Amy Atkinson: 800, 1,500. Naomi Blaz: 200, 400 and long jump. Alexandria Daughtry: 100 hurdles, 400 hurdles. Sierra Daughtry: 100 hurdles, 400 hurdles. Paul Dimalanta: 200, 400 and long jump. Rey John Flores: 400 and 800. Michael Herreros: 110 hurdles. Joshua Ilustre: 800, 1,500. Jeofry Limtiaco: 400 hurdles, 800. Chris Magtoto: 5,000, 10,000. Derek Mandell: 800, 1,500. Nicolas Raval: 110 hurdles, 400 hurdles. Jordan Tingson: 400 and 800. Regine Tugade: 100, 200 and long jump. Raquel Walker: 100, 200 and long jump. Antonio said the team members had to meet Oceania region standards to be eligible to compete. More than 30 athletes qualified under those standards, so the GTFAlooked at their individual IAAF rankings and the top 16 were chosen, he said. The IAAF is the world governing body for track and field. “I think the strength of the team would be the middle-distance and distance events,” Antonio said, referring to runs 800 meters and longer. Two of the runners in those events, Atkinson and Mandell, will also be competing in the Olympic Games next month in London. “My goal is always to improve on my times,” Atkinson said yesterday. “My biggest goal is to go out there to use the competition there,” she said, adding that she also wants to win medals. Atkinson’s personal best in the 800 is 2 minutes and 22 seconds; for the 1,500, it is 4:56. She said her goal is to break Jen Allred’s Guam national record of 2:19 in the 800, and to run the 1,500 in 4:55. “I would really like to thank the GTFA. They put a lot into this to let us have a big team. It’s really neat that they’re wanting to develop young athletes,” Atkinson said. “I also want to thank my family. They’ve been so supportive for everything. And I just want to thank God. I never thought I’d get to compete in all these international competitions.” Two events in one There are two championships being held concurrently in Cairns, according to Antonio. The second one is for athletes under 20, he said. Atkinson, Herreros, Limtiaco, Magtoto and Mandell will compete in the open division, and the other team members will compete in the under- 20 championships, Antonio said. The competition will include the same countries that participate in the Pacific Games, as well as Australia and New Zealand, Antonio said. Australia and New Zealand sometimes bring in “C-caliber” athletes to this event, but because this is an Olympic year, those two countries might bring their Olympic-caliber athletes, he said. Antonio added that he expects Guam will bring home medals from both championships. Guam team leaves tomorrow for Cairns Final Guam Olympians announced Photo courtesy of Albert Juan III Going Down Under: Eleven members of the Guam national track and field team are photographed yesterday at John F. Kennedy High School. They are, front row, from left: Alexandria Daughtry, Amy Atkinson, Naomi Blaz, Regine Tugade and Sierra Daughtry; back row, from left: Jordan Tingson, Paul Dimalanta, Nicolas Raval, John Aquino, Rey John Flores and Michael Herreros. Other members of the team are Joshua Ilustre, Jeofry Limtiaco, Chris Magtoto, Derek Mandell and Raquel Walker. PHOTOS ONLINE For more photos, visit the Pacific Daily News photo gallery at www.Guam- To see photos for this story, visit the Pacific Daily News photo gallery at PHOTOS ONLINE

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