Davao del Norte: With four gold medals each, Central Luzon and Northern Mindanao dominated the tae kwon do kyorugi [sparring]elementary division of the 58th Palarong Pambansa at the Gaisano Mall in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
Mark Eledir David, 12, of San Fernando, Pampanga used fast leg attacks to beat Rama Chandra Liporada of Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) to notch a close 9-8, win in the boys’ Category Four class.
“I’m very happy to win my first ever gold in Palarong Pambansa. This is my highest achievement so far,” said David, who dreams to become a pilot someday. “I participated in several tae kwon do tournaments in Manila and other places, but I wasn’t able to win any medal.”
Xela Pualengco of Bocaue, Bulacan, also a first-time gold medal winner in the Palarong Pambansa, whipped Sophia De Leon of Bicol in the girls’ category 5, 6-1, to gift Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association’s tae kwon do coach Dauphin Punzalan his fourth gold medal.
Central Luzon’s Vincent Van De Castro won over Allen Gevera of Central Visayas, 13-10, in the boys’ Category Two, while Jerome Ira Amado Santos gave Central Luzon its fourth gold by ruling Category Three, defeating Western Visayas’ Byron Abad, 5-4.
Northern Mindanao’s January Faith Gallego beat Western Visayas’ Jamie Hannah Agalos, 20-4, in the girls’ Category One while Mikaela Salonga defeated Lourdesette Origenes of National Capital Region (NCR), 5-4, in the finals of the girls’ Category Three.
Northern Mindanao’s Solayman Macatoon trounced Jehosaphat Saba of Bicol region, 11-5, in the boys’ Category Five while Mohammed Prince Pendatun pummeled Mark Norman Escoton of Davao region, 5-4, in the boys’ Category Six giving Northern Mindanao its fourth gold medal in tae kwondo.
Central Luzon also won two bronze medals while Northern Mindanao got additional one silver and two bronze medals in the elementary kyorugi event. CAR finished with two gold medals, a silver medal and a bronze medal.
The other gold medalists were Megan Alexandrea Macla of Davao Region (girls’ Category Four), Xaphrine Rivera of CAR (girls’ Category Two), Allyah Dominique Eusalan of Western Visayas (girls’ Category Six) and Richard Ulat of CAR (boys’ Category One).
At the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex, Northern Mindanao added two gold into its medal haul by winning two events in the athletics event courtesy of Efralyn Democer in the secondary girls’ javelin throw (42.34-meter) and Jie Ann Calis in the secondary girls’ steeplechase (10:10.16 time).
Democer, 15, also erased from the book the 41.37 meters set by Ilocos Region’s Stephani Cimatu during the 2011 Palaro in Dapitan City, Zamboanga Del Sur, and became one of seven record-breakers in medal-rich athletics.
Calis surpassed the 10.22.6 Palaro record set by Joida Gagnao of West Visayas in 2013 in Dumaguete City.
Perennial champion NCR is still leading the overall medal tally with 62 gold medals, 52 silver medals and 44 bronze medals, followed by Southern Tagalog (44-34-38), Western Visayas (32-36-32), CAR (18-17-12) and Northern Mindanao (18-9-29).