TAGUM CITY -- Just a simple lass from the uphill barangay of Balubal, Cagayan de Oro, 14-year-old Rona Bacus broke down in tears after delivering the City of Gold’s first gold in athletics competition of the 2019 Batang Pinoy Mindanao qualifier on sunny Thursday morning, February 7 at the Davao Sports and Tourism Complex here.
The long-legged Bacus’ feat in triple jump was complemented by CDO’s other gold in the morning behind the effort of 12-under boys swim contestant Jecifel Dichos.
“Naiyak ako because I was overwhelmed with joy. Second chance nako ni to qualify in Batang Pinoy national finals. When I was in Grade six, nag-gold ko sa Palarong Pambansa in Antique, but failed in national finals of Batang Pinoy kay walay klaro akong training,” Bacus said in vernacular.
Bacus' best jump was her final sixth attempt at 11.01 meters in taking the gold. Jonalyn Florida of Iligan City (9.75 meters) and Gezhel Castro of Tacurong (9.71 meters) took the silver and bronze, respectively.
At the pool, Dichos claimed the gold in boys 12 and under 200 LC meter backstroke (2:51.38) at the expense of Theo Andrey Ituralde of Dipolog (2:56.08) and Izyndro Warain of Kidapawan (2:56.49).
With the help of her trainer, support from family, forbearing coach Marifi Bade and an inspiration from a special friend in Balubal National High School, Bacus said she’s confident to perform better in two more high jump and long jump events tomorrow.
“God's will, confident kaayo ko ron kay maayo akong training. I’m also hoping to finally win the gold comes Batang Pinoy national finals,” Bacus told national and local reporters interviewing her at the field.
Barangay Balubal is a hilly barangay bordering between Cagayan de Oro and the land-locked province of Bukidnon.
Coach Marifi’s better half in brgy. Balubal Kagawad Ernie Bade told SunStar Cagayan de Oro that training regularly in a place like Balubal is advantageous for athletes in physically-exacting events that require strong body and long-lasting endurance.
“Some of the best runners in Cagayan de Oro come from Balubal sa una ra gyod na prove nga angat kaayo sila sa conditioning mao nga amo gyod silang suportahan,” Kagawad Bade said.
Meanwhile, Thursday afternoon results saw Cagayan de Oro producing two more golds in chess and athletics.
After winning the rapid chess event, Ruelle “Tawing” Canino of Kauswagan Elementary School copped her second gold in standard event in virtual fashion after posting a perfect 6 of 6 performance going to the last and final seventh round.
“Ang nagsunod sa iya 4.5 points lang so bisan pa’g mapeldi dili na maapas iyang score,” coach Johnnel Balquin said of Canino who is also the hands-down pick to rule the remaining blitz event in chess.
Francis V. Castulo, a 14-year-old student from Canitoan National High School, duplicated Bacus’ accomplishment in boys triple jump to cap a productive day for the 249-strong Cagayan de Oro delegation.
Castulo is mentored by Vicente del Puerto of Canitoan NHS and his daughter cum assistant coach Levi del Puerto.