Asian Games: Kayla Sanchez misses medal despite new national mark

Kayla Sanchez Asian Games 50m backstroke

Kayla Sanchez competes in the women’s 50m backstroke at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.–ASIAN GAMES POOL PHOTO

HANGZHOU, China—Kayla Noelle Sanchez missed out on a medal in the women’s 100-meter freestyle, but managed to reset her own national mark Tuesday night at the 19th Asian Games.

Sanchez touched the wall at fifth in 54.69 seconds, surpassing the 54.70 clocking she earlier posted in the qualifying heats.

Both times erased the 55.71-second effort of Remedy Rule established in the TYR Pro Swim Series in Des Moines, United States on March 5, 2020.

“I’m still adjusting. This is actually my first competitive swim internationally since serving my residency last year,” said Sanchez, who will be entered in the 50m freestyle on Wednesday.

Kayla Sanchez Asian Games 100m freestyle

Philippines’ Kayla Sanchez competes in the heats of women’s 100m freestyle event during the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou in China’s eastern Zhejiang province on September 26, 2023. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

Hong Kong’s Siobhan Bernadette Haughey put one over the Chinese by winning the gold in 52.17 seconds, a new Asian record.

Yang Junxuan and Cheng Yujie could only shake their heads in frustration after finishing second (53.11) and third (53.91).

Sanchez, a double Olympic medalist for Canada’s relay team in the Tokyo Olympics, began her residency in July last year and got the nod of the International Swimming Federation (FINA) exactly 12 months later.

“I hope you believe in me because I’m having the best time being able to represent the Philippines and be a leader of this team,” said Sanchez, whose parents Noel and Susana hail from Mabalacat, Pampanga and Baguio City before migrating to Toronto, Canada.

Meanwhile, Xiandi Chua placed seventh in the finals of the women’s 200m backstroke in 2:13.63. Chinese Peng Xuwei (2:07.28) and Liu Yaxin (2:08.70) clinched the gold and silver.

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