Henry Dagmil first came to national prominence at the 2004 Philippine National Open. The Mapua Institute of Technology alumnus, then 22 years old, eclipsed the long-standing record of 1936 Berlin Olympian Nino Ramirez. Dagmil flew to a distance of 7.83m in the long jump, beating the 68-year old record by 18 centimeters.
Since that definitive moment, Dagmil has been the Philippines top male long jumper, complementing Marestella Torres’ sterling record in the women’s event. He has competed at the world’s highest stage, representing the country at the Berlin and Daegu World Championships and at the Beijing Olympics.
Click here to view Henry’s photos with Darya Klishina
Dagmil has amassed an impressive collection of regional-level medals. In an international career spanning almost one decade, the Filipino champion had won two Southeast Asian Games long jump titles (2005, 2007), on top of silver (2011) and bronze (2009) medals. In front of hometown fans at the 2005 Manila SEA Games, Dagmil teamed up with the 100m/200m national record holder Ralph Soguilon, Arnold Villarube and Albert Salcedo, to win a 4x100m relay silver, setting a new national mark in the process.
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Video from Jad Adrian
The two-time SEA Games long jump champion has a lifetime’s best of 7.99m from 2008. However, the eight meter barrier – the mark of a truly world-class long jumper – has continued to elude Dagmil by the smallest of margins. Now 31-years old, Dagmil has until the 8th of July to go beyond the 8.10m Olympic “B” standard – and secure a ticket to London.
Dagmil has the knack for the unexpected. Prior to his record-breaking feat in 2004, he was actually left out of the national team because of injury. “When others might give up he let that catalyst make him stronger,” said Andrew Pirie, the Ernie Baron of Philippine athletics and Dagmil’s close friend. “[Dagmil] came back in 2004 to wipe out the 68 year old national record in the long jump.”
1.) How did you get started with athletics?
[In] Grade4, I started [competing in the] 50m and long jump. I was 10 years old.
2.) What’s the most memorable moment of your athletics career?
The most memorable is [when] I represented [the Philippines at the] Olympic Games.
3.) What is your life long dream?
To be successful in life, jump [beyond the] eight-meter barrier. And to be a national coach [who can] produce a world class athlete.
4.) Let’s lighten up a bit! What would you rather wear and why? Short shorts or tights?
I like Mizuno. [It looks] good on me. I prefer tights.
5.) What is your favorite sports movie?
Sports movie? Yung mga nagbibigay inpirasyon. Kahit anong movie basta maluluha ako. hehehe [I like inspiring movies. Any kind of film that makes me cry].
6.) What’s the best pump-up song of all-time?
Kahit anong song basta inspiring [Any song. As long as it's inspiring].
7.) If you could spend the rest of your days at any place in the world, which place would you choose?
I’ll spend my time with [my] wife and my kids, because I’ve spent [half of my life] on my athletic career.
8.) What do you do in your free time?
Rest, sleep, watch a movie, call my wife [and] my son on the phone, [and surfing the] net.
9.) Name three things you just can’t live without:
Money, phone, and laptop.
10.) What advice would you give to the young athletes of today?
I want them [to] dream. Ask the Lord’s [help], to be patient and willing to sacrifice [a] normal life to become an Olympian. [Not to] be a fool even [if] you [achieve the dream of being an] Olympian.