SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, ANTIQUE: Host region Western Visayas didn’t wait that long to win its first gold medal in the athletics competition of the 2017 Palarong Pambansa. And it was done in a record-breaking fashion.
Iloilo City native James Lozañes set a new meet mark in the secondary boys javelin throw besting his teammate Ronald Lacson for the gold medal at the start of the athletics event of this weeklong competition on Monday at the Binirayan Sports Complex here.
The 17-year old Lozañes threw the farthest posting a distance of 59.46 meters in his third attempt in the 700-gram javelin for his first gold – his first try in the Palarong Pambansa. It erased the previous mark of 57.81 meters set by Bryan Pacheco of Central Luzon in Dumaguete City.
It shattered his personal best of 57 meters that he established in the regional meet in Antique where he was also the champion. The feat made him to qualify here and more importantly put Western Visayas in the tally board.
“Very happy with this feat,” said Lozañes, who did not even use his spike shoes in the competition and wore an ordinary rubber shoes.
Lacson ended up with the silver medal with 57.30 meters while Northern Minadanao’s Manny Maquiling, Jr. settled for bronze with 54.66 meters.
The incoming Grade 11 student of Estancia National High School in Iloilo City aims for his second medal today in the discus throw event although he admitted his forte is the javelin throw.
“I just finished third (in discus) in the regional meet,” said Lozañes, who plans to take up Criminology in college.
Northern Mindanao’s Jay Ann Labasano emerged as the first gold medal winner in the athletics competition after ruling the 3,000-meter run in the secondary girls with the time of 10 minutes and 32.67 seconds.
Labasano beat NCR’s Jie Ann Calis (10:41.15) and Ilocos Region’s Maria Junaliza Abutas (10:44.68), who settled for silver and bronze, respectively. Calis was the record holder in 1,500-meter run in elementary girls/
“I didn’t expect to win here,” said the 17-year old Labasano, who finished second in the regional meet. Like Lozañes, Labasano was a late bloomer in her event and was not even the favorite to win a medal in the 3,000-meter run.
Negros Island’s Cesar Fernandez failed to at least match his personal best but his 1.90 meters leap in his first try was enough to bag the gold medal in the secondary boys high jump event.
“Happy for the gold,” said the incoming Grade 12 student of Molocaboc Integrated School, whose mark was far from his personal-best of 1.96 meters he registered in the Philippine National Games in Laguna.
Ilocos’ Kent Celeste also finished with 1.90 meters but he cleared the bar on his second attempt to settle for silver. Ernie Calipay of Eastern Visayas took the bronze with 1.85 meters.
In the elementary girls shot put, Calabarzon’s Maria Sally San Jose won the gold medal with a distance of 10.70 meters, beating Rhealyn Decosta (9.98) of Western Visayas and Juweliza Sarabosing (9.43) of Northern Mindanao.
Negros Island copped two gold in elementary girls rhythmic gymnastics courtesy of Kiana Marie Alagaban, who ruled the rope event, and Jenny Marie Eusebio, who topped the clubs event. NCR’s Breanna Labadan won the freehand while Bicol’s Marneil Audrey Capayas took the gold in ball.
Meanwhile, 16 gold medals are at stake today in the first day of the swimming competition inside the Binirayan Sports Complex.
Also, DepEd announced that it increased the cash reward for the silver and bronze medalists of the competition. Gold medal winner will still get P3,000 while silver medalist will take home P2,000, P500 better from last year. The bronze medal winner will get P1,000, an improvement from the P750 it gave the last time.