CONTROVESIAL track star Mirlou Baring is back in the Milo Little Olympics after serving a one-year ban.

But his comeback this year might be his last—thanks to curious circumstances.

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Baring won the Most Outstanding Athlete award for San Nicolas Elementary School in 2008 for winning four golds. But that title was stripped after a certificate from the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed he was three years over the age limit then.

Sacred Heart School-Hijas principal Minerva Roiles filed the protest after getting a copy of Baring’s NSO document that showed his birthday as Nov. 9, 1993. Milo Little Olympics Organizer formed a fact-finding committee, which discovered San Nicolas coach Abraham Dela Calzada submitted a Department of Education form 137 listing Baring’s birthday as Nov. 9, 1996.

According to Baring, his real birthday is Nov. 9, 1995 and the NSO document contained a typographical error. He also said he has a certificate from the Civil Registrar’s Office attesting to his real birthday.

“I was really born in 1995. After that incident, I decided to be silent about it

because di ko ganahan og gubot as long as I can keep my medals, ” said Baring, speaking out for the first time since that incident.

Shattered dream

Baring now plays for the University of Southern Philippines Foundation and this year, he got third place in the 400-meter hurdles and 400-meter run.

“Of course, I cried when I learned about it, especially with their decision to ban me for a year. I thought my dream was shattered. I don’t belong to a well-off family and joining an athletics team to earn a scholarship is my only way to be able to reach my dreams,” said Baring, the fifth child of a massage therapist.

Baring was barred for 2009, while his coach got banned for life.

“I am happy that USPF took me in despite what happened and believed in me,” said Baring, who is hoping to improve his performance next year and qualify for the national finals.

However, there might no longer be a “next year” for Baring in the Milo Olympics.

Dr. Danilo Villadoid, consultant for the Department of Education and considered the godfather of Cebu athletics, said if Baring will not do anything about his existing NSO record, this will be his last stint in an inter-school meet in the secondary level.

“We don’t question him. We believe they speak the truth but we cannot prove that there is a typo error on his NSO unless they will do something about the record,” Villadoid said.

The Milo Little Olympics started requiring its athletes to submit documents from the NSO, because of the Baring incident and even if the athlete has another certificate from the Civil Registrars Office, as far as Milo is concerned, Baring will turn 17 on Nov. 9, 1993.

Which makes him ineligible when he returns as a junior student.

“If he will not work on his NSO record, he will still be considered to have been born in 1993 though they have a record from the Civil Registrar’s Office that shows he was born in 1995,” said Villaldolid.

What’s worse, the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. and the Cebu City Olympics—the only two other major events in Cebu—also requires NSO documents.

“The NSO record will still prevail. Then he has to wait until he reach college so he can compete again,” Villadolid said.