OROQUIETA CITY – Waking up at 4 a.m., 13-year-old Aaron Gumban, son of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) and a banana box porter in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte, had no idea that he would end up winning the secondary boys 5,000–meter title and become the first gold medalist of the Batang Pinoy Mindanao Leg at the Misamis Occidental Provincial Athletics Center (Mopac) here yesterday.
“Excited kaayo ko Mam kay first time nako mag-Batang Pinoy (I was excited because it's my first time to race in the Batang Pinoy),” the Grade 7 student of Sto. Tomas National High School said in an interview with Sun.Star Davao after the event where he clocked a total of 17 minutes and 48.06 seconds.
He bested Mark Rommel Hubag of South Cotabato and Nikos Mampaundag of Davao del Norte who settled for the gold and silver, respectively. Hubag timed 17:58.29 while Mampaundag checked in at 18:16.10.
Gumban, the eldest among three children of Alex and Analyn, said he felt stomach pain when the starting gun was fired so he just paced with the leaders in the first few laps of the race.
“Di kaayo ko kabwelo pero nagpadayon ko maski sakit wala na lang ko naghuna-huna sa uban, sa last 50 meters ako na gihatag ang akong tanang kusog para maabsan nako ang nag-una. Ako rang gihuna-huna ato, 'Mag-Baguio ko’ (I could not really go faster but I continued despite the pain and did not think of anything else but going to Baguio),” he shared, adding that a slot to the Batang Pinoy National Championships in Baguio City in September kept him going and finish the race first.
The thought of going to Baguio City for the first time with his coach thrilled him, eclipsing the heartbreaks he suffered during the recently-concluded Davao Region Athletic Association (Davraa) Meet 2018 wherein he only salvaged a bronze in 5,000m.
Gumban added that he resumed training again after the gold evaded him in the Davraa Meet 2018 held in Davao City.
The champion, who only dreams of earning a spot in the Palarong Pambansa and landing a university scholarship in college, sets his eyes on winning the golds of his remaining events – 1,500m and 2,000m steeplechase.
“Gusto pud nako makauli na si Mama, nga dili na sya kinahanglan magtrabaho sa layo (I also want that my mother comes home and does not need to work abroad),” he said of his mother who has been working for two years in Dubai.
When he joined his teammates at the Mopac grandstand, Gumban ate two bananas and had cold compress on his neck and legs to relax.
The Sto. Tomas delegation, however, captured another gold courtesy of Adriane Hanz Tapporco who heaved the iron ball to a distance of 11.51 meters in boys shot put event. Tapporco prevailed over Khryss Rae Baroman of General Santos City (10.86m) and Renante Catayas of Sindangan (10.71m).
Cagayan de Oro City's Jivie Magnetico, for his part, registered 6.38m to clinch the boys long jump gold while Elmer Robiato of Plaridel (6.26) got the silver and Fel Brian Britanico of General Santos City (6.19) pocketed the bronze.