Grospe rules men's high jump in PH Athletics Championships

By Jean Malanum

May 11, 2024, 7:52 pm

<p>Leonard Grospe <em>(PNA phot</em>o <em>by Jean Malanum)</em></p>

Leonard Grospe (PNA photo by Jean Malanum)

MANILA – Despite a recent injury, Leonard Grospe lived up to his billing as the country's top male high jumper, winning the event in 2.18 meters in the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) Philippine Athletics Championships at PhilSports in Pasig City late Friday.

Pasig City's Kent Brian Celeste (2.11m) finished second, followed by teammate Ernie Calipay (2.09m).

"I am so happy that I reached that height and hit the silver medal standard in the SEA (Southeast Asian) Games," Grospe said in an interview Saturday.

He got injured while competing at the Singapore Open last month. He placed third (2.14m) behind Chinese Taipei's Fu Chao-Hsuan (2.22m) and Tsai Wei-Chih (2.18m).

"I feel very proud that I'm still at my peak. Even if my left ankle is painful, I was able to perform," Grospe, the pride of Mapua University, said.

The 6-foot-1 Grospe holds the Philippine record of 2.20m, which he established at the Philippine National Games in the same venue last year.

He broke the 17-year-old mark of 2.17m set by his coach, Sean Guevarra.

In the Under-20 category, Ateneo de Manila University's Airex Gabriel Villanueva topped the men's shot put for his second gold medal.

The 19-year-old from Bacolod City, Negros Occidental won in 14.05 meters, beating teammate Nicolas Marco Nieto (12.94) and Santa Rosa City, Laguna's Lander Josh Arban (12:55).

Villanueva's first gold came from discus throw (42.96m) on Thursday. Perpetual Help's Bernard Generosa Jr. (40.04m) got the silver while University of Baguio's Denver Tacay (39.41) took the bronze.

"I am thankful for winning again," the 5-foot-10 Villanueva said.

He trained under Romanito Maravilla Sr. National High School athletics coach Miguel Luis Arca in Bacolod City. He bagged two golds (discus throw and shot put) at the 2023 Palarong Pambansa in Marikina.

Meanwhile, Hansen Yap Soon Fu of Sabah Athletics Association clocked 10.37 seconds to claim the gold medal in the men's Open 100m.

Anfernee Lopena of Philippine Navy (10.51s) and Pengiran Aidil bin Hajam of Sabah Athletics Association (10.52s) settled for the silver and bronze, respectively.

Thailand's Sawitree Kaewsukri (51.50m), Sabah Athletics Association's Aillna Thipong Ak Laga (46.27m) and University of Santo Tomas' Joana Marie Bandal (40.13m) were the top three finishers in the women's hammer throw of the tournament supported by the Philippine Sports Commission. (PNA)