Negrense walks her way to gold

February 25, 2019

ILOILO CITY—Elika Salmorin of Negros Occidental ruled the girls’ 2,000-meter walk to emerge the first gold medal winner in the Visayas leg of the 2019 Philippine National Youth Games-Batang Pinoy at the Iloilo Sports Complex here.

Salmorin, 14, beat Rhyza Vaflor of Escalante, Negros Occidental by clocking 14 minutes and 16.08 seconds to claim the weeklong event’s very first gold and a spot in the National Finals set in October in either Ormoc City or Tagbilaran, Bohol.

Vaflor timed in 14:36.48 to capture the silver.

The Grade Nine Romanito Maravilla, Sr. National High School student later dedicated the win to her epileptic 25-year-old brother Eduardo.

“This is for him (Eduardo). Whatever amount I get from here, I will spend it for his medicines,” said Salmorin in Filipino.

Cebu province struck hard in centerpiece athletics, with by Gio Bagunao reigning supreme in boys’ discus throw (36.79 meters), and Donalita Torres who ruled the girls’ high jump in 1.35 meters.

Bago City’s Kate Julienne Martinez (girls’ shotput) and New Washington, Aklan’s Din Wel Barrosa (boys’ long jump) were the other winners in the track and field’s morning events.

Over at the pool, Ormoc and Negros Occidental went neck and neck as each harvested four golds.

Coby Marcus Rivilla and Maria Angela Cimafranca spearheaded Ormoc’s charge with triumphs in the boys’ 12-and-under 200m individual medley in 2:44.67 and girls’ 13-15 years old 200m IM in 2:44.68, respectively.

Rex dela Cruz, Jr. copped the 50m backstroke gold for boys’ 12-and-under in 35.93 and Martina Anele Estrella snared the 50m backstroke mint for girls’ 12-and-under in 37.68 to account for Ormoc’s other mints.

The 11-year-old Rivilla, an Ormoc Immaculate School Foundation fifth-grader, had a chance to pocket a second gold in the 100m freestyle but he lost to eventual winner Troy Castor of Negros Occidental and settled for the silver.

Castor checked in at 1:07.94 to deliver one of Negros Occidental’s four swim victories.

Alexie Kouzenye Cabayaran emerged the first double-gold medal winner after she topped the girls’ 13-15 100m free in 1:02.36 and 50m back in 32.01.

Jay-R Punzalan topped the 50m back for 13-15 boys’ in 30.61 for Negros Occidental’s only other gold.

Iloilo City’s Kristel Rhey Napallatan splashed her way to the 12-under 200m IM gold in 2:49.94 to give host Iloilo its very first gold.

Iloilo City also smashed Dumaguete with a quick, merciless 7-0 win to set in motion its gold medal bid baseball at the La Paz grounds.

The host’s chances increased as only three entered the event, which will apply a double-round robin format with the best record after it takes the gold. The other team that entered is Carmen, Cebu.

Other swim winners were Antique’s Guiliver Clemente (200m IM for 13-15 boys) and Tagbilaran’s Anthony Jude Presas (100m free for 13-15 boys’).

Cebu City, which was tipped to lord it over this event that is open for in and out-of-school athletes aged 15 years and below being the best performing local government unit in last year’s Visayas Leg in Dumaguete, had no golds to show at press time.