CEBU CITY - Former national athlete Christabel Martes, a single mother inspired by her 11-year-old daughter Maryam, snatched the first gold medal of the Philippine National Games (PNG) 2018 by topping the women's 10,000-meter run finals amid rainshowers at the Cebu City Sports Center here yesterday morning.
Martes, 38, born in La Trinidad, Benguet, checked in at 40 minutes and 11 seconds to race past Ruffa Sorongon of Cebu City and Sandi Abahan of Baguio City who settled for the silver and bronze, respectively. Sorongon timed 41:16.8 while Abahan finished in 44:31.3.
"I thank God sa panalong ito. Para sa anak ko ito. Mahirap maging single parent, challenging talaga," Martes told media in an interview, saying that she had to endure a right leg injury she suffered just three weeks ago.
She added, "Challenge din na maglaro dito kasi masakit parin pero andyan parin ang lakas ko by God's grace. I thank God na sustain nya ako."
Martes, who has been teaching kids to run for five years now, last competed for Team Philippines in the Laos SEA Games. She will next compete in the 5,000 meters and 1,500m but she downplayed her chances to sweep all her remaining events.
"I am not sure po kasi naputol ang training ko dahil sa injury ko," she said. She, however, maintained to still compete in her best form as the Games will serve as her tuneup for an upcoming 21-K event in South Korea where she, Sorongon and Rio Olympian Mary Joy Tabal are also seeing action.
Her teammate Narcissas Atienza claimed the senior women's shot put gold (12.21m) over Rhea Joy Sumalpong of the national team (10.86m) and Mary Jane Lawas of General Santos City (10.53m).
Cebu City, meanwhile, won a gold in senior women's high jump courtesy of Ronette Ayuda who outshined her teammate Kristie Kay Vinco and Baguio's Lyka Casta.
South Cotabato also shared top honors with a golden finish by Nathaniel Morales in junior boys 3,000m steeplechase while Immuel Camino of the national team and Fernando Reyes of La Union pocketed the golds in senior men's and youth boys 3,000m steeplechase, respectively.