Beating the odds

STUDENT-athletes from various divisions showed their indomitable will in the recently concluded 2016 Central Visayas Athletic Association (Cviraa) in Naga City, shrugging off challenges in life and limited resources to chase their dreams.

Among them is Joan Alinsunod, who helps her family in making hanging rice as a livelihood. The 15-year-old Alinsunod of Antonio R. La­piz National High School lives in the mountainous part of Barangay Jaguimit, and to save money in traveling to Naga City to train, she walks one kilometer from Jaguimit to Inamoan every day. She only takes a ride from Inamoan to Naga City proper.

The Grade 8 student is the third of six siblings of Celestino, a farmer, and Dioly, who makes hanging rice to support the family.

The daily trek of Alinsunod in the hilly areas is one of the factors in her victory over seasoned runners from the City in the secondary girls 1,500-meter run and 800m run.

“It was all determination. My family is my inspiration and this is for them,” Alinsunod told Sun.Star Cebu in Cebuano.

It was the fourth Cviraa for Alinsunod but her first time to win a medal. Together with Genalyn Barquio of Jaguimit Elementary School, who topped the 1,500m elementary girls, they ended the six-year gold medal drought of Naga City.

The very shy Alinsunod said in a very low voice that she wants to become a nurse someday to help her family.

Naga City’s track and field trainer Marven Espa­ñol described Alinsunod as dedicated and hard working . He said that before and after practice, Alinsunod makes hanging rice and also does household chores.

“Our advantage this year is we are able to train in a rubberized oval after the construction of the Teodoro “Doring” Mendiola Sr. Sports Field and Oval. And also I think the walk of Alinsunod every day has made her stronger,” said Español.

Bohol Province also stood out with a stellar performances in track and field, finishing at the top of the athletic events with 22 gold medals, 20 silver medals and 15 bronze medals.

According to the teachers of Bohol Province, most of their athletes have never competed in a rubberized oval before and were training in a track made of limestone. The impressive showing in track and field has catapulted Bohol to the top three overall.

They made up the lack of the facilities with determination and hard work, as all their players underwent centralized training .

One of Bohol Province’s surprises this year is Ray Socajel, 17, who won the 3,000m steeple chase. Socajel is from Ambongan Island of Inabanga, Bohol and a son of fisherfolk. Inabanga High School teacher Geneveve Arboleras said Socajel had to travel around 30 minutes using a bangka to get to school. He also goes fishing for his meal during training sessions.

Meanwhile, pedicab driver Sam Gilbert Rodrigo of Cebu Province, who was once featured by Sun.Star Cebu after winning in Batang Pinoy Nationals, shone anew in Cviraa as he topped the secondary boys 110m hurdles. The 15-year-old hurdler from Daan Bantayan told Sun.Star Cebu in a quick chat said that after Batang Pinoy he was approached by two schools from Cebu to join their team.

However, he has yet to decide on an offer.

The Grade 8 student of Daan Bantayan National High School said on the previous interview that for his training, he makes an improves hurdles with the use of bamboo and the field he runs is made of limestone.

In team sports, Cebu City sweep the softball event and won the secondary and elementary finals. This was done despite the limited exposures of the players.

The secondary team was composed of players from Abellana National School, while the elementary squad has students from Punta Princesa Elementary School.

These players all come from the grassroots development for softball spearheaded by Isiot Bacarisas.

Bacarisas, one of the grassroots coaches for Cebu City, told Sun.Star Cebu that the sport badly needs more support, especially on creating tournaments for these kids because only a handful tournaments are held in Cebu and most of them are small events.

“Nindot unta nay daghan tournament para maba-id sila. Sige mi og practice pero wala mi kaduwa sa lain players kay kami raman dili namo masukod ang amo improvement,” he said.

Bacarisas said that as part of helping softball, they go to the mountainous areas of Cebu City together with student-athletes to teach younger players the fundamentals the game.

“I hope we get more exposure, so we can compete with the strong regions in Palaro. Western Visayas is the strongest of all the regions because they have a very nice program for batted sports,” he said.
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