Henry Dagmil – Long Jump King
First Published November 7, 2015
Bringing in many years of honor to the people of the Philippines.
Henry Dagmil broke a long-standing national record in the Long Jump. Which had stood past the living memory of most in the summer of 2004? He would go on from that to win three SEA Games gold medals for the Philippines in the Long Jump. The farm boy from South Cotabato whose dream was to be an Olympic athlete. That dream became a goal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Henry for many years stuck up for his fellow athletes. And has inspired and continues to inspire young athletes in the Philippines. He is a very worthy addition to the Legends of Track and Field. And his name will now live forever among the stars of our sport.
Born December 7, 1981, Dagmil started his career at 1998 Palarong Pambansa on Apr 21, 1998. Dagmil would go on to win the 1999 Palaro with a 6.86m leap. He was spotted and recruited by the National Coach, Joseph Sy for Mapua was he enrolled the next year. He joined the national team in 2002.
Never Give Up
Things did not go well for Dagmil at his first SEA Games. Where he was entered in the Triple Jump in Hanoi 2003 were he finished last and consequently dropped from the national team. Instead of giving up like a lot of people would do. This made Henry realize what it meant to be a national athlete.
With a new fire and catalyst ignited he went to work in 2004. And came away with one of the most amazing feats in Philippine Athletic History. At the National Open in Manila, he would erase the oldest of all national records. It was the National Record of Nino Ramirez set in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics the same meet Jesse Owens ran. And at the Rizal stadium a stadium which was built with the same architecture as the Berlin stadium. Dagmil leap of 7.83m erased the 7.65m record of Ramirez. He defeated Joebert Delicano who was the most dominant Long Jumper at that time.
Back to Back SEA Games Golds
The following year Dagmil won his first of three SEA Games gold medals in front of his home crowd. At the same stadium with a 7.81m effort. Henry became the first man to ever win a SEA Games gold medal in the Long Jump for the Philippines. Henry also was a capable sprinter teaming with the 4×100 team to break the National Record in 40.55 and gain a silver medal.
He would defend SEA Games his title in 2007 in Thailand with a leap of 7.87m again breaking the Philippine National Record and setting the SEA Games Record which still stands.
Henry then was prepared by the POC in the Olympic program. He was sent to the US first to San Francisco to train under Heptathlete Chris Huffins and then under Jerry Cablayan. Leading up to the Olympics Henry had a serious Hamstring injury. And with the help of a lot of medical people from SMAP etc, he was able to make a rapid recovery.
Around this time he leaped a 7.99m National Record at the Jim Bush meet in Los Angeles on June 7, 2008. This mark still stands as the national record. Although the Olympic qualifier was 8.05m Henry the leap was good enough to gain him wild card entry to the Beijing Olympics in 2008 as the strongest male candidate in Athletics from the Philippines.
He fulfilled his childhood goal of being an Olympian bringing pride to the people of Cotabato and the Philippines.
Henry Dagmil The Return of the Champion
Henry lost his SEA title in 2009 and 2011 to the much younger Supanara of Thailand finishing with bronze and silver. With the help of US Coach Ryan Flaherty and coach Arnold Villarube. Henry was able to turn this around. At the age of 32 at the Myanmar SEA Games, Henry regained his SEA Games title that he had last won eight years ago.
“Adjust your check mark back one step, you will hit the board trust me. This will work” said Flaherty as he noticed Dagmil was too aggressive on the approach.
Dagmil following this banged out a 7.80m which was his best leap in several years and good enough for the gold.
Henry Dagmil The Next Step
Henry had to fight several injuries in 2015 and was not able to play at the National Open. He was given entry to the Singapore SEA Games by the PATAFA. He finished a disappointing sixth place with 7.36m.
Henry was a member of the POC Olympic Committee athletes council. And quite fitting as throughout his career he was outspoken and defended his fellow athletes.
Now a coach in Cotabato who helps nurture and guide the career of young athletes. Henry balances this with his duties as a father for three Boys and one girl.
I want to add on a personal note I appreciated the years that Henry gave to this sport and it was a great privilege to be his teammate at Mapua when I was younger. Even though we had our differences from time to time we later became good friends.
So again thank you and I hope you continue to share what you have learned with young athletes for many years to come.