MANILA, Aug. 10 -- Showing that they are world-class athletes as well as fighters, two Philippine Army (PA) troops won top honors in the Manulife Danang International Marathon 2017 held in Vietnam last Aug. 6.

In a statement Thursday, Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Ray Tiongson said these soldiers emerged victorious in their respective categories of the 21km marathon event.

Cpl. Jho-an Banayag-Villarma was named champion in the Women’s Category of the 21 km event after finishing the race with a time of one hour, 31 minutes and 53 seconds besting over a thousand other participants in her category.

Banayag-Villarma, who hails from Compostela Valley, was a Bronze medalist in the 42 km event during the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand where she set the national record with a time of 2 hours, 44 minutes and 41 seconds that remains unbroken up to this day.

She later captured the Gold medal when she participated in the 42 km event during the 2009 SEA Games in Laos. She has consistently topped several other International Marathon events since 2006.

Pfc. Richard Sala┼ło, meanwhile, finished third place in the Men’s Category also in the 21 km event with a time of one hour, 20 minutes and 36 seconds, just 0.33 second behind the second placer from Vietnam.

Over 700 other runners participated in the Men’s Category of the 21 km event.

The Danang International Marathon is the first professional Marathon in Vietnam certified by IAAF – AIMS (International Association of Athletics Federations and Association of International Marathons and Distance Races).

"Our soldier athletes have continuously shown that hardwork, dedication, and commitment will propel every soldier to success. These are the traits that are worth emulating by all soldiers whatever their field of specialization and wherever they are assigned. This also serves as inspiration to our soldiers fighting the different threat groups in the country particularly our troops fighting extremist terrorists in Marawi City," Tiongson said. (PNA)