A Filipino gymnast has just won the men’s vault in the 21st Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.
Christopher Remkes, however, is not representing the Philippines but Down Under, his adopted country.
Published reports said Remkes, 21 and 4’10” (147 centimeters) tall, on April 9 placed first in the apparatus (also known as horse vault) with his first vault given 14.866 points by the judges and the second, 14.766 points, for an average final score of 14.816.
Vaulters from England–Courtney Tulloch ad Dominick Cunningham–took the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
With Remkes’ reported runaway victory, he rewrote Australian gymnastics history.
The last time the country pocketed the vault title was in 1994 or 24 years ago when Bret Hudson struck gold in the Commonwealth Games, a quadrennial event that is participated in by countries that were former territories of the British Empire.
Seventy-one countries and 4,500 athletes are represented in the Commonwealth Games’ Gold Coast edition, which wraps up on Sunday.
Remkes obviously has come a long way from an orphanage in the Philippines, the country of his birth, to the home of Mike and Dora Remkes.
The Remkeses adopted the boy when he was just two years old.
Christopher, according to nuns at the orphanage, had been abandoned at a hospital in Manila when he was just two days old.
In Australia, according to the published reports, he dabbled in other sports at a very young age.
At five years old, however, he chose gymnastics, which sat well with his parents, and the rest is history.
In an online interview and after he was crowned King of the Vault, Remkes said he draws his “power” as a gymnast from his height.
In the same interview, he profusely thanked his adoptive parents, without whom, he said, he would not be where he is today.
Christopher Remkes’ life and times, arguably, reflect those of Simone Rota, a member of the national football team Philippine Azkals.
Rota has also been adopted by an Italian couple, whom he had known as his parents at a tender age.
He reportedly is continuing his search in the Philippines for his biological father and mother.