ILOCOS SUR: Princess Sheryl Valdez of Soccsksargen wowed the crowd with her prowess in fighting sticks in the arnis anyo elementary girls competition of the 2018 Palarong Pambansa here. Arnis is the national martial art and sport of the Philippines.
Valdez, 11, in her second campaign in the Palaro, bagged five gold medals in different arnis events at the San Vicente Gym.
The incoming sixth grader of New Isabel Central Elementary School in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, snared the top honors in individual espada y daga (29.10 points), single weapon (29.10) and double weapon (28.90) as well as in team event single weapon with Maria Veronica Ilagan and Stephane Mones (29) late Monday—making her the first multi-gold medalist in this year’s edition of the annual tilt.
Valdez seized her fifth gold in the team double weapon with Andre Frits Justin Alcarioto on Tuesday.
“I’m very happy right now,” beamed Valdez, who won three gold in Antique last year—her first Palaro participation.
“We expected that because she had three golds last year that’s why there is a high chance that she can get gold again. With her performance this year, she really proves that she is a cut above the rest,” said coach Ryan Muyco.
Muyco, who led the school to its six straight Palaro appearance in the elementary level, has been coaching Valdez for three years.
Muyco is happy for Valdez and her older sister Shena May because an estimated P100,000 in cash incentives from various local government units await them for their feat in last year’s Palaro.
Despite missing her sister this time, Valdez’s bonuses already stand at P90,000, which according to her is a big help to her family.
Valdez’s father is incapacitated with Parkinson’s disease while her mother is just a plain housekeeper. Part of Valdez and her sister’s cash incentives last year were used to buy a tricycle to supplement their income.
Seeing his ward’s stellar performance in two straight years, Muyco believes that Valdez, whose dream is to become a policewoman, will realize her dreams.
“Next year, she still has a chance to add more (to her medal tally) and even surpass her personal record,” said Muyco.
Meanwhile, Soccsksargen is leading with a 7-3-5 gold-silver-bronze haul anchored on Valdez’s early wins while defending overall champ National Capital Region, Calabarzon, Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao are sharing the second spot with four gold medals apiece as of 5:25 p.m. on Tuesday.
Over at the President Elpidio Quirino Stadium in Bantay, Ilocos Region’s Francis James San Gabriel led four other athletes in shattering the record in 2000-meter walk. San Gabriel won the region’s maiden gold as he clocked 9:31:01 while the next four finishers also broke the previous mark of10: 11:03 held by silver medalist Bryan Oxales.
Western Visayas’ Trexie Dela Torre leapt 5.54 meters to cop the gold in long jump secondary girls and Calabarzon’s Paul Joveda posted 5.91 meters to rule the long jump elementary boys.
The Big City’s Keane Ting bagged the gold in boys 13-17 years old 400-meter long course freestyle elementary boys after clocking 4:17:95 and Gwyneth Cawaling topped the girls 13-17 years old 400-meter (4:43); Ilocos region’s Samantha Corpuz won the 12-and-under 200-meter freestyle elementary girls (2:17:22); Bicol Region’s Julius Vasquez reigned in 12-and-under 200-meter freestyle elementary boys (2:11:39).
The medal-rich swimming competition at the Quirino Stadium is still ongoing at press time.
Over at the University of Northern Philippines in Vigan City, National Capital Region’s gold medalist Kasandra Hazel Alcantara posted 11.88 meters and Western Visayas silver medalist Jamela De Asis 11.29 meters to break shotput secondary girls’ 26-year record of 11.20 marked by Marites Barrios.
Late afternoon in the first day, Western Visayas’ Ann Katherine Quitoy became the first record-breaker in 2018 Palaro after recording 45.72 meters in secondary girls javelin throw. The previous mark was 42.85 meters by Sylvian Faith Abunda.