Athletics gold medallists among new breed of mixed-heritage Filipinos

BIG DAY: Caleb Stuart's hammer title is one of three athletics gold won by the Philippines yesterday. - PHOTO: SINGSOC/ACTION IMAGES

It has worked in recent years for their football team, and it did the trick again on Sunday when the Philippines won the men's rugby 7s gold medal at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games.

Now, the Filipinos also look like they are shaping up to be a formidable regional force in track and field following the emergence of several mixed heritage athletes.

It was a day to remember for the Philippines after they clinched three of the eight gold medals on offer on the opening day of the track and field programme at the National Stadium yesterday.

Leading the way was Eric Cray, who produced a scintillating run to become the first Filipino to win the men's 100m gold medal, leaving the rest of the field in his wake with a time of 10.25sec.

FOREIGN TALENT

Like Kayla Richardson and Caleb Stuart, who won the women's 100m and men's hammer throw respectively, yesterday, Cray is born to an American father but qualifies to represent Philippines through his mother.

But, unlike most of his mixed-blood compatriots, Cray was actually born in the country and hails from Olongapo, Zambales.

And he believes there should not be any doubt over the legitimacy of him representing Philippines.

"I definitely have Filipino blood," he said, with a wry grin.

"I think we're seeing more and more athletes with similar origins, but the most important thing is that we know and cherish the traditions of Filipino people.

"My mother is a Filipina and I was born and raised there, before moving to the United States.

"I'm just proud to represent the country of my mother, which I also regard as my country."

Kayla, 17, completed a sprint double for the country when she pipped Thailand's Tassapon Wannakit in a photo-finish to bag the women's 100m with a time of 11.76sec.

As part of this new wave of athletes, the teenager is optimistic it could spell a golden era in Philippines track and field.

She said: "You better believe it… Philippines are coming up!

"I was born in California but my mother is Filipino, and I've been representing Philippines for three to four years now.

"I'm just happy to represent my country and I'm glad I was able to do what I came here to do, which was to win the gold medal."

Rounding off an excellent outing for the Philippines was Stuart's triumph in the hammer throw.

His best was a distance of 65.63m, which eclipsed the previous Games record by 3.4m.

The 24-year-old is also competing in the discus and shot put and will be gunning for gold in the latter discipline this evening, although he faces stiff competition from Games' record holder, Chatchawal Polyiam of Thailand.


17.13m

The gap between the Philippines’ Caleb Stuart vicrtorious hammer throw of 65.63m to this year’s best result, the 82.76m set by Poland’s Pawel Fajdek.

Philippines call for gender tests on Indon volleyball player

A gender row hit the SEA Games yesterday after the Philippines demanded that organisers carry out tests on a women's volleyball player from Indonesia.

A team official confirmed that the Philippines had asked for a gender test on Aprilia Santini Manganang, 23, ahead of their game tomorrow.

Competition organisers were not immediately available for comment and there was no response from officials from Indonesia to what risks becoming a storm of controversy.

The Philippines' delegation spokesman said she didn't expect any test to be carried out before the game.

"She's very powerful, it's like putting a male in the female division," said Philippines coach Roger Gorayeb said, according to Inquirer.net.

"Whether she plays or not, it doesn't matter because we will be playing our best here," he added.

- AFP.

Evan Ross inspired by famous mum and wife for new single

He may have rich and famous parents but US singer-actor Evan Ross does not depend on them

MUSE: Singer Evan Ross says he is inspired by his wife, singer Ashlee Simpson (left), to make music. The couple is expecting their first child, a daughter. 


Evan Ross was born with a silver spoon in his mouth - his mother is legendary singer Diana Ross (below) and father the late wealthy businessman Arne Naess Jr.

But a surprisingly thoughtful and mature young man walked into the boardroom of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in Los Angeles and talked about not having his career handed to him despite his privileged background.

"I think the part that becomes hard is that a lot of times... people don't feel like they can go on that journey with you because your life has been so different.

"But my life hasn't been that different. I think we all go through tough childhoods and hard times no matter what you deal with, whether it's money or not," the 26-year-old US actor-singer told M.

And Diana Ross the superstar is very different from Diana Ross the mum, according to him.

"My mum is mum and now when I look back, for her to juggle both those lives is really incredible," he said.

"I remember when the Concorde (a supersonic passenger jet) was around and she would fly on it to London and do a show and then fly back the same night and take us to school in the morning.

"So we never really felt like she wasn't there. And she still cooks for us."

The best professional advice she has given him?

"She just said, 'Trust yourself. There's something great about what you have, and once you trust yourself and let that be that, it will be amazing'."

With his recent marriage to US singer Ashlee Simpson, what inspires Ross right now, not surprisingly, is love.

The couple, who started dating in 2013, are expecting their first child, a girl.

His new single, How To Live Alone featuring rapper T.I., is inspired by his 30-year-old wife. His wife and mother make cameos in the music video.

"I don't think a lot of young artists my age are talking about that. They talk about going out and meeting as many girls as possible or staying out all night, drinking and partying.

"I would not be inspired to write something that isn't where I am at, and I am in such a good place and I want to give that place to other people."

Ross was in high school when he started his acting career, appearing in films like ATL, Life Support and Pride and the TV series 90210.

Surprisingly, singing came later.

"I think a lot of times when you are young, you don't really have a story to tell. It's not the right time to actually be singing and showing the world yourself.

"So it was good that movies started first."

HUNGER GAMES ROLE

His most high-profile role to date is Messalla, who was part of the TV crew that tags along with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), in 2014's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1.

Ross will reprise the role for Part 2, opening here on Nov 19.

"For the next Mockingjay, there's a lot of cool action and we had to get fit. We were in trenches in water, with weapons above our heads," he said.

But from the way he gushes about his personal life, Ross' most important role seems to be that of doting husband and father-to-be.

His wedding last August, planned by his 71-year-old mother, and held at her estate in Connecticut, was a grand affair.

He recalled: "She told me she wasn't going to sing and she was like, 'Stop telling people I might sing. I am marrying you guys, but that's it.'

"And then while the party was happening, all of a sudden I could hear the music change to (her song) Endless Love and then I just heard her voice and it was crazy and it was amazing and I wasn't expecting it."

Ross and Simpson's honeymoon was in Bali - where they will spend their first anniversary too - and there was a special reason to pick that destination.

"We were supposed to go see my dad, before he passed away (in a climbing accident in 2004), in Bali.

"So that was why I chose to go there after the wedding because it was a place he loved."

Ross has had some practice being a father to Bronx, Simpson's seven-year-old son with her ex-husband Pete Wentz, the bassist of US rock band Fall Out Boy.

But he is eagerly anticipating the arrival of his daughter.

"I want to see her face. I keep having dreams of what she looks like.

"I know that just like my mum did with us - she put us first - I am going to put her first."

Daphne to the fore as Singapore dominate women's singles

Singapore women rule bowling singles event at Orchid Country Club

SUPER FINISH: Daphne Tan hit a solid final game score of 247 to overcome teammate Jazreel Tan for the gold medal. 


She described her performance like a schizophrenic "stock market".

And when Singapore's Daphne Tan went on a bull run, she was unstoppable, romping to the SEA Games women's singles bowling gold at the Orchid Country Club last night. She recorded a six-game total of 1,368 pinfalls.

She put together 10 strikes in a row after an opening spare and finished with a nine for an opening round of 289, the highest game of the day.

While she flirted with scores either side of 200 in her next four games, Tan turned on the style in the last game, starting and ending with four-baggers for a 247.

"I'm really happy because I really wanted this gold," said the 24-year-old, whose only other singles title was at the 2013 Asian Indoor Games.

"The good start obviously helped. I didn't pay attention to the other bowlers' scores. They are all very strong competitors, so I just focused on my tempo and took things from there."

SECOND SWEEP

For the second time at this SEA Games - after the women's 10m air rifle singles success - Team Singapore finished one-two-three again as the female keglers lived up to their billing as a blue-chip team, giving the bubbly 200-strong crowd lots to cheer about.

Jazreel Tan, the most bemedalled athlete at the Asian Games last year (one gold, two silvers, one bronze), gave as good as she got, taking the lead after the fourth game, and leading by seven pinfalls going into the final game.

The 25-year-old was undone by two open frames in the last game, however, and had to be content with a turkey finish and a final round of 185 en route to a total of 1,313 pinfalls and the silver medal.

She said: "I'm pretty satisfied with my performance today.

"I didn't make many mistakes until I missed the spare in the final game.

"I'm sad not to have won the gold, but I'm also happy because my teammate and a fellow Singaporean did."

Daphne's sister Cherie finished third with 1,294 pinfalls but, because SEA Games diplomatic rules state each country cannot win three medals in a single event, she had to give up the bronze to Malaysia's Esther Cheah.

Singapore filled up five of the top six positions, with Shayna Ng fifth (1,288), New Hui Fen sixth (1,278) and Bernice Lim 10th (1,245).

Malaysia's Rafiq crowns Games debut with singles gold

“I didn’t keep track of the scores. But my coach told me a spare in my final frame would be enough, and that’s what I did.” - Rafiq Ismail (above)

The strikes deserted him, the 200-strong partisan home crowd at the Orchid Country Club were cheering on their favourite, who was next to him, and it was all getting too much for 18-year-old Malaysian bowler Rafiq Ismail.

Rafiq, who was making his SEA Games debut, bowled a 192, going under 200 pinfalls for the first time in his fifth and penultimate game.

His 48-point lead duly shrunk to just 20, as 19-year-old Singaporean Javier Tan got hot with a 246.

Malaysia's team psychologist was called in, his coach reassured him that another game of 200 or more would be enough to win, and this time, crucially, Rafiq and Tan were well away from each other.

Despite recording his worst round of the day with a 189 for a six-game total of 1,308 pinfalls, Rafiq survived a late surge by Thailand's Annop Arromsaranon - he fell short by only three pinfalls to take silver - and collected his first SEA Games gold medal.

FALTER

Tan couldn't string his strikes together and was hampered by a 4-6 split in his ninth frame, managing only a 185, and ultimately had to settle for bronze.

Rafiq, who picked up bowling as a four-year-old because his father runs a cafe at a bowling alley in Ampang, said: "I was really affected by the Singaporean supporters because I was next to Javier in the fifth game and they were cheering his every shot.

"Luckily, in the last game, we didn't bowl together and I could focus more.

"I didn't keep track of the scores. But my coach told me a spare in my final frame would be enough, and that's what I did."

In March, the new prince of South-east Asian bowling won four golds at the Asian Youth Tenpin Bowling Championships, and he represents a new wave of young keglers from the Malaysian conveyor belt of talent.

Like many others, Rafiq dedicated his win to the victims of the Sabah earthquake, and said: "I feel very sad to hear about the news and my heart goes out to the families of those affected.

"I pray that God will help them recover from this."

Tan was also satisfied with the bronze in a strong 41-man field.

"I guessed I was in contention after the 246, but I just took it one shot at a time," he said.

"I hit a good shot on the ninth but suffered a split. I don't think it played in my head because... while I would like to win gold, thinking about it wouldn't have helped.

"The crowd was electric, and it's a great feeling to win a medal after all the preparation we had."

Thai sailor juggles studies and sport to strike gold

Thai youngster balances studies and sailing to finally strike gold

WOMEN'S LASER RADIAL: Thai sailor Kamolwan Chanyim (centre) 
wins the gold, ahead of Singapore's Victoria Chan (left) and Khairunneeta Afendy of Malaysia (right).

It has been a tough year for Thai sailor Kamolwan Chanyim.

The 19-year-old had entered university last year and had to juggle studies with preparing for this year's South-east Asia (SEA) Games.

She had a mission in mind too.

After winning a silver at the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia, she took home only a bronze from the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar and she knew that she had to deliver in Singapore.

And deliver she did, as she left her rivals trailing in the women's Laser Radial event at East Coast Park.

Kamolwan won all eight races from Saturday to Monday, and was already assured of the gold medal before yesterday's final race.

It was also double joy for the international business management undergraduate, who, just a few days ago, learned that she had scored 3.96 out of a perfect four for her semester.

HAPPY

"I'm so happy," she told The New Paper yesterday. "It's not been easy for me to train and study at the same time, but I did well for both."

"I got only one B+," she chimed, referring to her exemplary results.

Strong winds prevented her from winning the last race, which would have given her a clean sweep.

Yesterday, she crossed the line behind silver-medallist Victoria Chan of Singapore and bronze-medallist Khairunneeta Afendy of Malaysia.

Team manager Sunan Monthardpalin was proud of Kamolwan.

"It was so difficult for us to plan our training schedule, due to her classes and exams," he said.

"But she has shown great determination and proven that she can get the best results, as long as her heart and mind are in it."

Chants of "Malaysia boleh" could be heard, as supporters celebrated Nur Shazrin's win in the women's Under-19 Laser Radial final.

It had been a close fight among her, Thailand's Kanapan Pachatikapanya and Singapore's Samantha Yom over three days of competition.

"I never expected to win but, before the final race, my coach kept telling me, 'You can, you can'," said the 17-year-old, who picked up sailing when she was just eight.

Kanapan won the silver and Samantha settled for the bronze.

"She has shown great determination and proven that she can get the best results, as long as her heart and mind are in it."

- Thailand team manager Sunan Monthardpalin, on Kamolwan Chanyim

Malaysia test for Singapore squash

STRONG SHOW: Bryan Koh (above) will face Malaysia's Addeen Bahtiar in today's semi-finals.

Singapore enjoyed a strong start in squash at the SEA Games last night, with Mao Shi Yuan through to the women's semi-finals while Bryan Koh and Samuel Kang advanced to the men's last four

All three players easily won in the quarter-finals, but face a huge task today to make the final.

Malaysia, one of the world's top squash nations, have brought a young team across the Causeway but still have designs on a clutch of golds.

And each Singaporean will take on a Malaysian player today in the semi-finals at the Kallang Squash Centre.

Singapore's Bryan Koh, who is an undergraduate at Harvard, and plays for the college team, will take on Malaysia's Addeen Bahtiar, while Samuel Kang will play Sanjay Chal.

Mao will face Rachel Arnold of Malaysia in one women's semi-final, while Malaysian Vanessa Raj Gnanasigamani will face off against the Philippines' Jemyca Aribado in the other encounter.

Malaysia are without world No. 1 women's player Nicol David, but are gunning for a clean sweep of golds.

Singapore coach Peter Genever said: "The SEA Games is an opportunity to give exposure to some of our lower-ranked players.

"It's a stepping-stone to the Asian Games, so that's why we brought a younger side.

"They need to learn what its like to play in a bigger tournament".

But the team are formidable, with Vanessa, just 19, already ranked 59th in the world, after winning the Asian Junior Under-19 Championships last year.

Genever is confident about his team's chances.

"The guys have trained well and had a good preparation with two tournaments to warm up for this."

Koh hopes the home crowd will lift his, and his teammates' spirits for their tough task.

"The crowd has definitely helped," the 22-year-old said. "It's not always that you have 99 per cent of them (the audience) on your side, so it has been something very special.

"Every point that I have won, the Singapore crowd cheered for me.

"It was a boost, especially with my family, friends, and even extended family here."

S'pore saillors win four out of six races

Bernie, 15, strikes gold in laser radial as sailors win four out of six on offer

SMOOTH SAILING: Bernie Chin (above) wins the men's youth laser radial (under-19) event, ahead of Thailand's Apiwat Sringam and Achmad Zainudin of Indonesia.
SMOOTH SAILING: Bernie Chin (centre) wins the men's youth laser radial (under-19) event, ahead of Thailand's Apiwat Sringam (left) and Achmad Zainudin (right) of Indonesia.

Gold medallist at last year's Youth Olympic Games.

Singapore's Sailor of the Year.

Add South-east Asia (SEA) Games gold medallist to the list of accolades that Bernie Chin has chalked up over the past 12 months.

Still only 15, the Raffles Institution student, who took up the sport at the age of nine, is certainly going places.

Bernie won the men's youth laser radial (under-19) event yesterday in convincing fashion, finishing first in seven out of 10 races at the National Sailing Centre in East Coast.

"I'm really happy about winning the gold. It means that the sacrifices really paid off," the teenager said.

"Before the Games, I had to train quite hard to get used to my new boat class, and I missed a lot of school as a result.

"I have to thank the Sailing Federation and my school teachers for their support."

Thailand's Apiwat Sringam and Indonesia's Achmad Zainudin bagged the silver and bronze respectively in an event which featured just five sailors.

"There was definitely more strategy involved racing in a smaller fleet," Bernie added.

"It's tougher to race in a fleet of five than 30, because the margin for error is smaller."

Bernie plans to remain in the youth laser radial class, as he eyes success at the Laser Radial Youth (U-19) championships in Canada in August.

While he admitted he was concerned about his studies taking a backseat for the time being, training - five days a week - will still continue as normal for the teenager.

"I'm taking a short break first, though. Because it's the school holidays after all," he said.

Singapore bagged four golds from six events yesterday, with Colin Cheng winning the Laser Standard and the men and women keelboat teams triumphant in the fleet racing events.

While the women's quartet of Jovina Choo, Terena Lam, Dawn Liu and Daniella Ang sailed to first place easily, winning all eight races ahead of Malaysia and Thailand, the men's trio had to dig deep to fend off a challenge from the Philippines, the eventual silver medallists.

EXCITING

Stanley Chan, Colin Ng and Anthony Kiong won an exciting medal race to clinch victory ahead of Thailand, who finished third overall.

The victory was particularly sweet for the 37-year-old Chan, who was a bronze medallist in two previous SEA Games outings (1997 and 2013).

Chan and Kiong also competed in the 1993 edition, the last time the biennial event was held here.

"It was a tough fight; the Philippines and us were really close on points," Chan said.

"It went down to the medal race, so we had to stay calm and regroup the night before."

Singapore Sailing Federation chief executive Tan Wearn Haw, who was out at sea on a speedboat watching the races, said he was pleased with the four-gold haul.

"We never look at the number of medals. For us, it's always about how the sailors carry themselves," Tan said.

"There are still the windsurfing and 470 races to look forward to (today), and then there's the super weekend coming up.

"The men's and women's match racing keelboat grand finals will be at Marina Bay on Sunday and we hope to pull in the crowd with that."

Sailing has one gold medal on offer today in the women's windsurfing RSX.

Singapore's Audrey Yong leads Thailand's Siripon Kaewduang-Ngam by one point heading into the medal race.

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Movie Date: Entourage

This is one Entourage we’d prefer not to hang with.

STARRING: Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Dillon, Jeremy Piven, Haley Joel Osment

DIRECTOR: Doug Ellin

THE SKINNY: The story continues where the series ended in 2011, where movie star Vince Chase (Grenier) now wants to be a director of a movie produced by his former agentturned- studio head Ari Gold (Piven). Vince’s bros Johnny Drama (Dillon), E (Connolly) and Turtle (Ferrara) are also living out their Hollywood dream of wild parties, booze and babes.

RATING: R21


MARS

I did not like Entourage.

During those dark hours, I considered undergoing unnecessary surgery to lighten the mood.

I wanted to find a way to euthanise this film. With a brick. Repeatedly.

Entourage could be the biggest cinematic waste of time since Sex And The City 2.

Like that film, this returns to a show long after its prime, turns the characters into caricatures and ditches plot in favour of aimless sketches.

Case in point: Johnny Drama goes viral thanks to a (solo) sex tape. His life is in ruins...for about a minute before it's swiftly forgotten.

What happens with Turtle and Ronda Rousey? Who knows, they either didn't bother or forgot to finish that story.

Particularly because that thread is left dangling, it gives the whole thing an air of "Will this do?".

And while it delves into pedantry, that fact that this is set soon after the show finished (late 2011) it completely ignores that people like Rousey or Vince's sort of love-interest Emily Ratajkowski were not famous back then. 

(Blurred Lines, where Ratajkowski was first noticed, was 2013). Oh yeah, and Pharrell was not wearing that hat in 2011.

Only apologists who blindly loved the once-great HBO series will like this.

Them and anyone who thinks a few bare breasts and "nice" celebrities swearing quash the need for any effort to be put in.

There's a decent film in there of Gold struggling against the money men to get a film completed, but it's lost.

It would require the other leads to have acting ability - something they have in thimbles.

Grenier, who it was a stretch to buy as a great actor in the TV show, is meant to be a great director in this film. A first-timer who aces it.

Which might be more convincing if we saw him on set. The closest to that is during the introductory segment where Piers Morgan interviews the main characters by way of introduction for audience newbies.

Yes. Minute upon minute of Piers Morgan kicks off this film. You can see why I wanted that brick.

What we do see is a clip of his "masterpiece". Except it looks like a clip from a commercial for sportswear or chewing gum. 

All the brilliance happens off camera. Vince is a great actor, Vince directs a genius film, Johnny Drama also acts his heart out.

But it does not work. Without the evidence, why root for these idiots?

But hey, the script has the character E become alluring to young women willing to get naked on camera.

It has to be said, Connolly is laughably fully covered for those scenes.

Was this contractual? Did Connolly demand these scenes happen? It seems very out of place for the character and the actor's apparent shyness is a bit perplexing.

Though I guess it would be weird if all four leads got into shape like Turtle did.

On the big screen, this film feels incredibly fake. 

The finale set at the Golden Globe awards is even tinged with sadness. Filmed last-minute on this year's Globes red carpet, only Piven looks like he really belongs. 

And when the footage of them smiling and waving is mixed with that of the real stars, the fakery stands out by a mile.

In a film awash with A-listers and genuine talent, the sad truth is that 11 years since the show started, the leads, aside from Piven, are still comparative nobodies pretending to be famous.

Rating: 0.5/5 (The half mark is for Piven)

- JONATHAN ROBERTS


VENUS

I've never watched a single episode of Entourage.

And what a blessing in disguise.

Having caught this big-screen version, I don't think I've missed anything at all.

I still don't get why Hollywood bothers to "revive" TV shows for the cinema.

Sure, the TV series might have been a hit and won many awards, but those glory days are way over.

At least the Sex And The City movies have nice clothes, shoes and bags to keep me distracted.

What do we have here?

Cliches, sexist jokes, hot chicks in bikinis, and a neverending parade of celebrity cameos.

In a time where we're getting some really smart and entertaining comedies about bromances, here is something that feels like it's from the Stone Age.

Making it worse is that the guys can't act. It's no surprise the gang have yet to achieve success outside the show that ended four years ago, with Piven being the exception.

He's the only one who has segued from Entourage to other things, and deservedly so.

Piven brings much life to his Ari Gold, never failing to steal the thunder each time he shows up.

Now I know why he was the only castmember to have won the Golden Globe and Emmy awards

I'm so glad Friends won't be taking the same TV-to-movie route.

Rating: 1/5

JOANNE SOH​


THE CONSENSUS: This is one Entourage we’d prefer not to hang with.

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