THE adversity going into this year’s Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (Cviraa) meet became a source of motivation for the determined Cebu Province track and field team.

The Cebu Province tracksters were quick to make an impression after adding two gold medals to the haul from the shot put and long jump events at the Gov. Mariano Perdices Memorial Coliseum in Dumaguete City on Monday, Feb. 18.

“There are challenges we had to hurdle for this year. But the athletes remained motivated on their goal which is to get to the national level, the Palarong Pambansa,” said Cebu Province track and field coach Mark Allan Cantal.

Oliver Aliganga, 16, who idolizes fellow Pinamungajan native and PBA superstar June Mar Fajardo, answered the call for the team as he delivered a gold medal in the long jump event on Day 1 of the competition.

Aliganga defended his title in the secondary boys’ long jump after leaping 6.49 meters.

“I really wanted to give my school the honor since I’m the first athlete from our school to qualify for the Palarong Pambansa. I’m happy to make it back-to-back in this event,” beamed Aliganga of Lamak National High School.

Though his sport is different from that of the famous cager Fajardo, Aliganga believes it takes the same motivation and character as Fajardo to succeed in any sport.

“Just work hard and do whatever it takes to improve,” said Aliganga, who added that even without a standard ground for long jump, he trains regularly. “We till the soil so we can train and make it our landing area for long jump. I had many bruises because of training.”

Aliganga hopes that hard work will pay off as he wants to get a scholarship to realize his dream to become a policeman.

“I hope a school (college) will get me because I want to finish my studies and become a policeman someday,” he said.

One of the track and field coaches Damcille Marie Valiente said that the athletes come from Bantayan, San Francisco, Oslob, Pinamungajan, Daanbantayan, Carmen, Catmon, Balamban, Ginatilan and Liloan.

“One of the challenges is getting these athletes in one place since they come from different areas. You have to encourage them to stay focused on their dream. The local government unit of Cebu Province and the DepEd Provincial division are throwing their full support to these kids,” she said.

The other contributor for Cebu Province also comes from a far-flung area in the Municipality of Balamban. Kervy Lanza topped the secondary boys’ shot put with a throw of 13.28 meters.

“It’s a surprise for me to win this since my main event is really the discus throw on Tuesday,” said Lanza, who won his first gold medal in Cviraa after three tries.

The Grade 9 student of Nangka National High School in Balamban was the first gold medalist for Cebu Province this year.

Cantal said that it was a good start for Cebu Province despite their short practice time since the Provincial Meet was moved from November last year to January. The winners in the Provincial Meet were selected as part of the Cebu Province delegation in Cviraa.