WHILE Bicol Region barefoot runner Lheslie de Lima defended her secondary girls 3,000-meter title to clinch the first Palarong Pambansa 2019 gold medal Monday, Digos City thrower Khessie Jane Baluyot gave host Davao Region (Davraa) its first medal as the athletics competition unfurled at the University of Mindanao (UM) track oval here.
De Lima, 14, a Grade 9 student of Baao National High School in Camarines Sur was elated by her feat although admitting that she was nervous. "Kinakabahan po ako. Di ko alam kung sino sa amin ang nanalo," said De Lima who broke away from stiffest rival Camila Tubiano of Northern Mindanao (NMRAA) in the final 250 meters of the race.
De Lima checked in at 10 minutes and 22.42 seconds while Tubiano timed 10:32:32 for the silver. The bronze went to Lovely Crodivilla (10:38.82) of Central Luzon (CLRAA).
"Masaya at nakuha ko ulit (ang gold)," the long distance ace said in a media interview.
Baluyot, for her part, exceeded expectations by salvaging a bronze in secondary girls discus throw event, which was topped by Ainah Marie Masangkay of the National Capital Region (NCR).
The 17-year-old Baluyot, an incoming Grade 12 student of Kapatagan National High School, which is located at the foothills of majestic Mt. Apo, registered 33.54 meters in her fifth attempt to surpass her own 30.33m record in the Davao Region Athletic Association (Davraa) Meet 2019 last January.
Masangkay (34.16) and Western Visayas' Kate Martinez (33.90) grabbed the first two places.
"Sa wala pa mag-start, ang akong goal ra is makaapil sa best eight pero unexpectedly nag third pako (My goal was only to make it to the top eight but I unexpectedly placed third)," the Davraa Meet 2019 double gold medalist, who is making her fifth and final Palaro appearance this year, told Sunstar Davao.
She added, "Ang akong kahago nako nga giagian, gihuna-huna sad nako akong family, ang team og ang region sa akong pagdula (I thought of my sacrifices and hardwork during training as well as my family, the team and the region while I was competing)."
The bronze finish was also her first medal since participating in the annual Palaro five years ago. She aims to win another medal when she competes in shot put at 6 a.m. today.
Cagayan Valley's Algin Gomez, meanwhile, smashed the Palaro record in secondary boys long jump event with a new record of 7.55 meters. He erased the 2012 record of fellow Cavraa jumper Julian Reem Fuentes (7.26m).
CLRAA's Bellanca Marie Valerio (33.74m) nailed the elementary girls disus throw gold over Jazen Araño (31.91m) of NCRAA and Mekyla Taborite (31.81m) of WVRAA.