SEA Games: Alkhaldi unruffled by 'injustice,' says bronze worth its weight in gold
The 20-year-old London Olympian was quick to shrug off the odd turn of events that saw her being stripped of the gold medal before settling for the bronze after a re-swim of the 100-meter freestyle of the SEA Games competitions on Friday in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
To Alkhaldi, the whole experience was better than winning the gold medal.
“Some things are just worth better than gold. I did my best and I’m pretty sure that I left my mark” said Alkhaldi in a post on her Facebook account.
[Related: Alkhaldi settles for bronze after re-swim]
While Philippine officials raised a howl over the development, Alkhaldi looked unperturbed after the gold medal she was awarded on Thursday over two Singaporean swimmers was taken away a day later when the jury of appeals ordered a re-swim following a protest by Thailand.
A Thai swimmer, ironically, won the gold after protesting that she had heard a horn that signaled a false start early in the race. Despite the claim, officials made no effort to stop the race immediately and the event went on with Alkhaldi being declared winner.
Still, Alkhaldi was happy to win her first-ever medal in the SEA Games.
“I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I am so thankful and blessed to be able to get my first ever SEA Games medal tonight, though there were a lot of challenges that came my way,” said Alkhaldi
“The Filipino spirit does not give up,” Alkhaldi added.
Alkhaldi said she was proud of how she handled the controversy as the University of Hawaii standout went on to follow the orders of the jury of appeals and compete in the re-race despite having won the gold medal already.
“I dedicate my swim to God, without him I wouldn’t have even come this far and I couldn’t be more proud on how I handled the situation,” said Alkhaldi.
Alkhaldi also thanked all who are supporting her in the campaign as she prepares to compete in a few more events.
In contrast, Philippine officials are not taking the "injustice" sitting down.
Philippine Swimming Inc. (PSI) has elevated the case to the International Swimming Federation (Fina), saying that the re-swim is a violation of the rules of the world body.
PSI president Mark Joseph said a re-swim is only being done when a tie occurs in the event.
“That’s cheating,” Joseph said. - Reuben Terrado, SPIN