Barefoot runner clinches Palarong Pambansa first gold

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ILOCOS SUR: Bicol Region’s barefoot runner Lheslie de Lima struck not just her maiden gold medal but also the first of 2018 Palarong Pambansa on Monday at the President Elpidio Quirino Stadium in Bantay here.

De Lima ruled the secondary girls’ 3000-meter run in her first try as the 13-year old clocked 10:06:54–just three seconds short of the record set by 2015 champion Meagey Ninura of Davao Region.

The seventh grader pride of Baao, Camarines Sur, who previously won three silvers during her elementary days, said she did not mind running without her rubber shoes.

“It’s lighter to run barefoot. I am also used to running with my shoes but I just want to run like this,” shared the daughter of a farmer father–a distant relative of senator Leila De Lima–and a housekeeper mother.


Bicol Region’s barefoot runner Lheslie De Lima (right) glides across the track during the secondary girls’ 3000-meter run in the 2018 Palarong Pambansa on Monday at the President Elpidio Quirino Stadium in Bantay. ROGER RAÑADA

While De Lima’s maiden campaign in the secondary level ended up happily, same could not be said for silver medalist Camila Tubiano and her coach Maricel Avicel.

Avicel was disappointed with what transpired late in the race, wherein her ward and De Lima were the clear gold-silver finishers.

Both Tubiano and De Lima were not able to go for a strong finish and unknowingly ran an extra lap as, according to Avicel, the final bell was partly inaudible.

“They didn’t hear the bell. There is likely someting wrong with the officials. Of course, I think she (Tubiano) can win the gold,” rued Avicel.

“We’ll just wait for further step that we can take,” added the mentor when asked if they would protest the outcome.

Tubiano clocked 10:07:07 while Western Visayas bet Grace Tejones wound up a distant third at 10:52:99.

Meanwhile, defending champion National Capital Region and Cagayan Valley took an early lead in the annual tilt.

Both regions grabbed two gold as of 2:30 p.m. The Big City’s Christian Ampong and Adrian Samudio won the javelin throw secondary and triple jump elementary, respectively.

Cagayan notched its gold from Algin Gomez (long jump secondary boys) and Rashied Burdeos (shotput elementary girls).

Medals are at stake in other events in athletics as well as in gymnastics, chess and arnis as of press time.

Over at the San Ildefonso Covered Court, Calabarzon, Mimaropa and Central Luzon started their respective campaigns in the secondary boys basketball on a winning note.

Calabarzon routed Zamboanga Peninsula, 88-52; Mimaropa downed Bicol Region, 85-76; and Central Luzon nipped Soccsksargen, 99-96.

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