Our latest induction to Track and Field’s Legends is current national Coach Sean Guevara who hails from Iloilo in Western Visayas. Consequently discovered by veteran coach Noel Diel one of the foremost coaches of the Western Visayas.
Sean Guevara, despite being already 29 years of age. And standing only 1.71m. A decade of hard work paid off for Sean. When he broke the long-standing mark of Fil-Heritage athlete Luis Juico (2.16m). Juico had set the mark as a teenager. Juico still holds the National Junior Record, which has stood 27 years since 1987.
Hip problems caused Sean Guevara to end his career as an athlete the following year. But he made the transition into a national coach as a new coach Sean over the years, matured into the responsibilities given and the pressures that came with it.
In the triple jump, Sean Guevara coached Joebert ‘Grover’ Delicano in the 2007 SEA Games to bronze. Delicano leaped 16.06m. Hence breaking the national record and becoming the first Filipino to jump over 16m. Two years later, Delicano would retain the bronze medal and then reset the national record again with a 16.12m leap.
Leading Benigno Marayag to a Bronze in the 2011 SEA Games. Combined with his good friend, former SEA Games teammate, and Illongo neighbor Ernie Candelario he helped coach the Mapua Boys team to a Junior 4x400m Relay record at the 2013 PNG.
Sean Guevara then took on the very tough task of guiding Jesson ‘The Panda’ Ramil Cid, who had trained under Veteran Coaches Rosito Andaya, Jojo Posadas, and Dario De Rosas. Sean accepted the challenge despite the amount of pressure placed upon him. He was able to improve the 22-year-old Cid to 7038 points, a Philippine Record. More importantly, they retain the SEA Games gold medal in the decathlon, which was the last won in 2001. Cid would get the Silver medal in 2015 in Singapore, relinquishing his Decathlon title.
Sean then worked with Aries ‘Rondo’ Toledo, who was an SCUAA champion in several events. Sean converted Toledo into a Pole Vaulter. Toledo first broke Cid’s Decathlon record with 7129 points at the Thailand Open. At the SEA Games, Toledo shattered this mark with 7433 points and was the surprise winner defeating the Asian Champion Sutthisak Singkon of Thailand.
Sean had a bronze and a silver in the 1999 and 2001 SEA Games. He followed in the footsteps of Luis Juico before him (Silver, 1985), Arnel Innocando (Bronze, 1983), Elmer Reyes (Bronze, 1979).
The SEA Games have never won a High Jump gold in Track and Field in the history of the event in Men’s or Women’s. Perhaps one day
Coach Sean hopes to help guide the one who ends this drought. Below is an interview conducted with Coach Sean.
Sean Guevara, What first got you into the high jump? Did you play any other sports or events before?
I started my track and field quest when I was in 2nd year of high. Mr. Noel Diel discovered my high school coach as a long-distance runner reaching only until the provincial meet. In my 3rd year high, I won the 3,000 meters steeplechase that made me qualified to play the regional meet until on my 4th year high that I explore other events from hurdles, Javelin throw, triple jump, long jump, High Jump, and Pole Vault.
I won the pole vault and got second place at a high jump during the regional meet. Selected to compete at the Palarong Pambansa 1993 at Ilagan, Isabela. My event quest continues during my college time. I also tried to compete in a decathlon once at the CHED regional meet. I did not continue to train for the event because of my ectomorph body type.
With most of the events, I tried in track and field. I enjoyed more doing the high jump and especially the pole vault. During my years in college, I established to set the National CHED Palaro record at Pole Vault in 1997-Bicol and set the National CHED Palaro record at High Jump in 1998-Bacolod; I also won the bronze in pole vault open at the 1996 Manila Philippine National Games. And won the Gold in the High Jump open at the 1997 Cebu Philippine National Games, Then I was selected to be part of the National Team for winning the National Open Meet in 1999.
Which individuals do you attribute to your success as a high jumper?
My success will never be possible w/o the following individuals. First, to coach Noel Diel my high school coach who discover me. Then my college coach Mr. Ceceron Ceballos who enhance my skills. Also to the coaches of the national team that shares their knowledge, namely Coach Alex Ligtas, Coach Dario De Rosas, and likewise Coach Joseph Sy, Most of all to our Athletic Director Mam Mencie Pador of my beloved Western Institute of Technology Iloilo City, who taught me the wisdom of life. Thank you so much.
When did you decide you wanted to represent the Philippines, who endorsed you to the national pool/team?
Opportunity made me decide and my performance endorse me to the National Team.
During my graduating years in College in 1999. Our School team (WIT-Iloilo) participates in the annual National Open Meet of PATAFA. I won the High Jump Open Event. Beating a member of the National Team (Caluag and Sulit). I hit the qualifying standard of the SEA Games. At that time, I decided to play the 1999 South East Asian Games. Automatically I was Included as a member of the National Team.
What was the most memorable moment as part of the Philippine Team?
My most memorable moment was when I broke the National High Jump record in the 2005 national open. It was my major goal during my time as a national athlete. I believe that being one of those will take part in the history of Philippine Track and Field.
- You were considered a late bloomer setting the national record in your late 20s?
Yes, I am. It’s maybe because I am never going to rigid training during my college time. My priority was to finish first my Engineering course and take the board examination.
- Do you feel you could have been better if u started high jump earlier?
Maybe yes. But if I have the power to rewind the time. I will still take the road where I have been.
We understand that injuries forced you to retire as an athlete and focus more on coaching; how did you find the transition.
In 2006, a year after I broke the national record in the high jump, I got injured on my right hips. That limited my explosive drive knee when I jump. That was the time that I have no choice but to stop jumping. That was also the year that some of the national coaches depart the country for coaching abroad. Maybe it is my destiny or God’s will for a sudden transfer of my career from an athlete to coaching.
As a coach, you now have had success at sea games, with Jesson Ramil Cid proving your ability. Do you intend to focus now more on Deca or also develop future high jumpers?
Well, I usually focus on my athlete’s development through the achievement of their athletic potential. Decathlon is one of the events that I was challenged with, and I want to develop more, including the heptathlon, but I will never set aside the jumping events.
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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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