Swimmer Paolo Miguel Labanon wins Davao's first 2 Palaro 2024 gold medals

Davao City runner Mary Joy Pagayon secures first-ever Palarong Pambansa medal
GOLDEN BOY. Davao City swimmer Paolo Miguel Labanon, right, secures the first two gold medals for Davao Region on Day 1 of the Palarong Pambansa 2024 swimming competition at the Cebu City Sports Center on Thursday, July 11. He also teamed with Neil Joaquin Tebar, Pietro Dominic Requiza, and Jabhari Dilangalen to claim the region's bronze medal in the secondary boys 4X50 medley relay event.
GOLDEN BOY. Davao City swimmer Paolo Miguel Labanon, right, secures the first two gold medals for Davao Region on Day 1 of the Palarong Pambansa 2024 swimming competition at the Cebu City Sports Center on Thursday, July 11. He also teamed with Neil Joaquin Tebar, Pietro Dominic Requiza, and Jabhari Dilangalen to claim the region's bronze medal in the secondary boys 4X50 medley relay event. GRACE CASTANEDA PHOTO

Davao City swimmer Paolo Miguel Lim Labanon fulfilled his promise to leave a lasting legacy as he competed in his final Palarong Pambansa, securing Davao Region's first two gold medals at the Cebu City Sports Center on Thursday, July 11.

Labanon, a senior high school student at Mapua Malayan Colleges Mindanao, dominated the secondary boys' 400-meter freestyle and 200m butterfly events.

"In my first event, the 400-meter freestyle, I was slightly nervous. I wondered if I would meet my time goal. After the swim, I was surprised to be only milliseconds short of the national record. I didn't expect to beat my personal best," he said in a phone interview with SunStar Davao Thursday evening.

The Dabawenyo ace clocked four minutes and 8.78 seconds in the 400m freestyle, outpacing Anton Paulo Dominick Della (4:17.36) of Ilocos Region and Aishel Cid Evangelista (4:18.55) of the National Capital Region (NCR). Della and Evangelista claimed the silver and bronze, respectively.

Paolo Miguel Lim Labanon of Davao City, center, receives his second gold medal on Day 1 of the Palarong Pambansa 2024 swimming competition at the Cebu City Sports Center on Thursday, July 11.
Paolo Miguel Lim Labanon of Davao City, center, receives his second gold medal on Day 1 of the Palarong Pambansa 2024 swimming competition at the Cebu City Sports Center on Thursday, July 11. PAULINE ANTONETTE LIM LABANON PHOTO
Happy naman po masyado kasi (I'm very happy because) I got the first gold for the Davao Region. I am proud to present my medals here to my relatives and parents. They are my number one supporters.
Paolo Miguel Lim Labanon, Davao Region's Palarong Pambansa 2024 swimming double gold medalist

He thanked the Davao Region delegation for their full support and his school, MMCM. He also cited his late coach Jerry Kasim for imparting him with swimming knowledge and his current coach Jun Rodriguez, who resides in the Island Garden City of Samal but comes to Davao City to train him twice daily.

Labanon teamed with Neil Joaquin Tabar, Jabhari Dilangalen, and Pietro Dominic Requiza to win the bronze medal for the Davao Eagles in the secondary boys 4X50 medley relay.

Meanwhile, Department of Education (DepEd) Davao regional director Allan Farnazo, in a Viber interview, praised Labanon's golden efforts.

I'm very pleased, of course, our expectations on the performance of Paolo resulted in golds. Kanindot ani kaning mga golds mao ni target expectations niya sa iyang individual performance. (What's good about this is that these are among the golds he expected in his performance). I hope that in the next three days, we will be able to gather more good results.
Allan Farnazo, DepEd Davao Region director

DepEd Davao City Division superintendent Reynante Solitario also echoed Farnazo's sentiments, saying, "This extraordinary feat of Davao Eagles particularly Davao City Division is a testament to the power of hard work, the unwavering support of our coaches and mentors, and the belief in the potential of our young athletes."

Department of Education (DepEd) Davao City Division superintendent Reynante Solitario takes a selfie with Davao Region's Palarong Pambansa 2024 swimming double gold medalist Paolo Miguel Labanon, while DepEd Davao City sports director Deony Ferolino is partly visible in the background.
Department of Education (DepEd) Davao City Division superintendent Reynante Solitario takes a selfie with Davao Region's Palarong Pambansa 2024 swimming double gold medalist Paolo Miguel Labanon, while DepEd Davao City sports director Deony Ferolino is partly visible in the background. REYNANTE SOLITARIO
Paolo Labanon has not only demonstrated exceptional athletic prowess, but also embodied the spirit of sportsmanship, resilience, and determination.
Reynante Solitario, DepEd Davao City Division superintendent

Labanon will compete in one relay event on Friday, July 12, and the other three individual events in the remaining days of the swimfest. He is set to receive P80,000 cash incentives for his two gold medals. DepEd Davao Region has allocated P25,000 for a Palaro gold while DepDed Davao City is adding P15,000.

Last year, he brought home four gold medals and two bronzes from the Marikina City Palarong Pambansa.

Pagayon's first

In athletics, Mary Jane Pagayon of Emar Human and Environmental College in Davao City salvaged a bronze medal in the secondary girls' 3,000-meter run. This marks her first-ever medal in the Palarong Pambansa, after returning empty-handed from the 2023 edition in Marikina City.

"Sobra nga kalipay, Ma'am, kay wala ko nag-expect nga makamedal ko ani nga event, maong pasalamat kaayo ko kay Lord kay sa second time nako nag Palaro, naka medal na gyud ko (I’m very happy because I didn't expect to get a medal in this event. I’m very thankful to God that in my second Palaro, I finally won a medal)," she told SunStar in a Messenger interview.

BRONZE RUNNER. Mary Jane Pagayon of Davao City places third in the secondary girls 3,000-meter run to secure a bronze medal in the Palarong Pambansa 2024 athletics competition at the Cebu City Sports Center on Thursday, July 11.
BRONZE RUNNER. Mary Jane Pagayon of Davao City places third in the secondary girls 3,000-meter run to secure a bronze medal in the Palarong Pambansa 2024 athletics competition at the Cebu City Sports Center on Thursday, July 11.MAMERTO AVENTURADO FACEBOOK PHOTO

Pagayon finished in 10 minutes and 52.74 seconds (10:52.74), trailing behind gold medalist Aisa Paraase (10:27.36) of Central Visayas and silver winner Chrishia Mae Tajarros (10:52.72) of Eastern Visayas. She noted that her rivals were very strong and had prepared hard for the race.

The decorated Dabawenya runner said Paraase and Tajarros had a blazing start, making it difficult for her to catch up.

As she prepares to compete in the 1,500m and 4x400m heats on July 14 and the 800m on July 15, she emphasized the need to remain focused and adjust her pace to keep up with the leaders.

Meanwhile, Davao City's Carla Neisz Luardo bagged the silver medal in the elementary girls 400m run while Davao del Norte's Jessa Belinario secured a bronze in the secondary boys 400m. MLSA

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