Philippines’ Edwin Giron stumbled but finished 800-meter race despite severe cramps

PHNOM PENH — Filipino men’s 800-meter run prospect Edwin Giron checked in seventh and last in his heat at 3:33.02, a far cry from his personal best of 1:51.99.

But it’s not so much his clocking or final placing in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games here that merits attention but the way he finished the race.

Mr. Giron was setting the pace when he stumbled to the ground due to severe cramps, allowing his six opponents to overtake. Medical personnel were ready to stretcher him out of the oval but the back-to-back UAAP king refused, asking them to help him stand up instead.

Grimacing in pain but showing grim determination, Mr. Giron ran the last 200 meters of the race on a bad limp to cheers and applause from the appreciative crowd at the Morodok Techo National Stadium.

The cramped-up Pinoy trackster reached the finish line around two minutes after the top runner of the heat, Wan Muhammad Zahari (1:53.870). He gratefully fell on the track using both hands as support and rolled over to the field in exhaustion.

Unknown to many, Mr. Giron also raced while mourning the death of his father, who passed away back home.

For this amazing triumph of the spirit, Mr. Giron deserved the gold medal. — Olmin Leyba