STA. Cruz, Laguna: Jomar Udtohan of San Sebastian College Recoletos notched another record breaking win in athletics on Thursday in the 57th Palarong Pambansa at the Laguna Sports Complex in Barangay Bubukal here.
The 17-year-old Bulacan native Udtohan, who is representing the National Capital Region (NCR), posted 48.7 seconds in the secondary 400 meters dash to shatter the 17-year record of 49.4 seconds by Rene Boy Tanuan of Southern Tagalog in 1997.
His first record-breaking performance was a 10.8 seconds victory in the centerpiece 100 meters dash on Wednesday that surpassed the 10.9 seconds record of Cagayan Valley’s Ronald Caluanan in 1998.
“I’m thankful for the support of our school. I really practiced hard for this event,” said Udtohan, who will be aiming for a third gold medal today in the finals of the 200 meters dash.
Udtohan, who finished high school at the San Sebastian College in Manila last month, and Central Luzon’s Bryan Jay Pacheco are the athletics event’s double gold medalists.
The 17-year-old Pacheco, who graduated at the Baler National High School in March, broke the records in secondary boys javelin throw (62.47 meters) and secondary shotput (15.32).
Finally, after more than a decade, Leyte Province, devastated by Typhoon Yolanda last year won a gold medal courtesy of Melissa Escoton in the girls’ secondary 100 meters hurdles and Leah Joan Creer in the girls’ secondary 400 meters dash.
The 16-year-old Escoton won the 100 meters hurdles with a time of 15:5.43 seconds. Finishing second was Judy Ann Rendora of Calabarzon (15:5.45) and Karen Janario (15:8.74) third.
Creer, 17, of Palo, Leyte ruled the girls secondary 400 meters dash with a time of 59.3 seconds. She previously finished second to Mary Anthony Diesto of Western Visayas in the 100 meters dash event the other day.
Both Escoton and Creer were among 30 athletes who were adopted by the Philippine Sports Commission and who trained at the Rizal Memorial Sports Center in Manila after the Leyte Sports Complex where they were training was destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda last year.
“We have not won a gold for over 15 years. This are our first gold medals after a long while. I’m very glad Melissa [Escoton] and Leah [Creer] did it for us. They are both very inspired to prove themselves after the sad fate caused by Typhoon Yolanda,” said Leyte Sports Development officer Lucrecio Calo.
In arnis, the Cordillera Region (CAR) dominated the secondary competition with eight golds, five silvers and three bronzes while Western Visayas is second with five golds, four silvers and two bronzes.
The powerhouse NCR seems ready to capture its 13th straight overall title with a medal haul of 39 golds, 24 silvers and 29 bronzes at presstime. NCR boasts of a 23-14-15 medal tally in the secondary level and 16-10-14 medal tally in the elementary level.
Closely following behind are host Calabarzon (16-20-23), Western Visayas (15-11-19), Cordillera Region (15-9-9), South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat (10-10-11) and Northern Mindanao (8-12-10).