Batang Pinoy surprise: Ilagan grade schooler strikes gold medal in taekwondo

March 18, 2019

ILAGAN CITY, Isabela—Unheralded Eljay Marco Vista made the host city proud as he topped the cadet male individual poomsae in taekwondo to emerge the first gold medal winner in the Luzon Leg of the 2019 Philippine National Youth Games-Batang Pinoy at the San Felipe Covered Court here yesterday.

Vista, 12, showed exceptional form and technique in amassing 7.670 points and edging highly touted Palarong Pambansa gold medalist Kacey Olongapo of Olongapo to win the event in his very first appearance in this week-long event for in and out-of-school youth athletes aged 15 years old and below.

Canlas managed just 7.600 to settle for the silver while Wriely Canao of Baguio City, a team event gold medalist in last year’s Palaro in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, garnered 7.465 for the bronze.

“I’m so happy because I really prepared long and hard for this competition,” said Canlas, a Grade Sixth student at Ilagan South Central School, in Filipino.

Ian Matthew Corton of Quezon City and Aesha Kiara Oglayon of Baguio City also struck with poomsae golds in the junior boys’ and cadet girls’, respectively.

Corton elicited 8.105 score from the judges, besting King Nash Alcairo of Quezon Province with 8.04 and Emmanuel Christopher Austria of Naga City with 7.95 and Carl John Viloria of Alicia, Isabela with 7.88 while Oglayon tallied 7.82 to edge Khyla Kreanzzel Guinto of Baguio with 7.765, Antonette Medallada of Parañaque with 7.65 and Princess Mariano of Pangasinan with 7.635.

In rapid chess, Mark Jay Bacojo of Dasmariñas, Cavite and Jan Clifford Labog of Nueva Vizcaya downed Wayne Ruiz of Sta. Rosa and Alexis Vien Sim of Caloocan, respectively, to remain unscathed and at the helm after three rounds in the premier boys’ 15-under division.

Bacojo, a veteran internationalist, and Labog were playing each other at press time hoping to seize the solo lead in this seven-round Swiss System tournament.

In basketball, Mandaluyong turned back Pasig, 51-50, Pangasinan smashed Mariveles, 77-26, and Polangui dumped Guinobatan, 71-50, to grab an early share of the lead.

Pangasinan also came out strong in volleyball as it bashed Mandaluyong, 25-7, 25-8, to join early winners Angeles, which whipped Sta. Rosa, 25-21, 25-22, Bataan, which trounced Muntinlupa, 25-13, 25-18, and Mariveles, which downed Candon, 25-7, 25-12.

It was the same result for Pangasinan in beach volley as it bested Mandaluyong, 21-18, 21-15, to accompany Olongapo, which waylaid Ilagan City, 21-5, 21-5, on top.

In softball, powerhouse Tanauan blanked Baguio, 11-0, to zoom to the top alongside Sta. Maria, which stunned Manila, 6-4, and Dasmarinas, which bamboozled Pasig, 10-1.

Meanwhile, swimming was rescheduled from yesterday to today due to some emergency venue repairs but when action finally unfolds, expect all attention to focus on national juniors’ record holder Micaela Jasmine Moldeh of Paranaque as she eyes at least five golds.

Mojdeh, the owner of Phl marks in 100m and 200m butterfly, is scheduled to swim in the girls’ 200m and 400m individual medley today, 100m and 50m fly tomorrow and 200m fly Thursday.