Genaro Saavedra Profile -Jim Thorpe of the orient
While at high school in Ambos Camarines, Genaro Saavedra was trained by a Nebraskan sports coach, Clinton “Doc” Feldman.
Who taught for six years in the country during its era of American influence. Although primarily interested in American football, Fehliman trained Saavedra in various track and field sports as an all-around athlete.
He is a poor boy weighing only 127lbs I worked with him for 2 years. Said Fehliman.
This training paid off on Saavedra’s major international debut at Shanghai’s 1915 Far Eastern Championship Games.
The second edition of Asia’s first major multi-sport event. Saavedra proved to be the star athlete for the Philippines at the competition.
He won the 100-yard dash, pole vault, high jump, and decathlon. He also took a bronze medal in the long jump. This helped lead the Philippines to its second straight athletics championship title.
He ran 10.8 for the 100 yards, Shotput 29.5 feet, High Jump 5 feet 6.5 Inches, Broad Jump 20 feet 5 inches, 440 yards 57.8, 220-yard low hurdle 31 secs, Pole Vault 10 feet, Hop Skip and jump 34 feet 9 inches.
As Saavedra had already won the 1915 Decathlon after nine events, he just jogged it and finished with no points.
Knowing that i won already without the mile, therefore I just jog to complete the whole business”
Fehliman deemed Genaro Saavedra the “Jim Thorpe of the Orient,” given his success across disciplines.
Genaro Saavedra returned to represent his country at the 1917 Far Eastern Championship Games in Tokyo. And he was less successful at this competition.
Yet still came away with multiple medals in the form of a long jump silver (behind fellow Filipino C. Cardenas) and a bronze in the decathlon.
While the Philippines team won the third title, helped by Fortunato Catalon’s sprint double, although the nation was equal on gold medals with the hosts on this occasion. And his last major appearance was the 1919 Manila Games, where he was the long jump bronze medalist.
Saavedra’s four titles in Far Eastern competitions ranked him as one of the tournament’s most successful track athletes. Only Catalon, Mikio Oda, and Regino Ylanan won as many individual golds in the competition’s history. Hence Saavedra was the only person to have won Far Eastern Championship Games gold medals in four separate disciplines.
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Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years.
He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017.
Current editor and chief of Pinoyathletics.info, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program.
Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is working towards his Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles.
He can be contacted on [email protected]
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