Davao City's pride Paolo Miguel Labanon secured his fifth gold medal, meeting his target in the 2023 Batang Pinoy national championships at noon on Friday, December 22, at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila.
Labanon, a multiple 2023 Palarong Pambansa gold medalist, timed one minute and 59.94 seconds to secure the boys 16-17 200-meter freestyle gold, outpacing fellow Dabawenyo Ivo Nikolai Enot (2:00.43) in a thrilling finish.
The final 25 meters witnessed Labanon and Enot racing side by side, delivering a classic 1-2 performance from the city's standout Batang Pinoy stars.
Pasig City's Rain Tumulac (2:01.91) got the bronze.
Labanon, A Grade 11 student at Mapua Malayan Colleges Mindanao, also clinched the boys 16-17 400m freestyle gold Thursday night, December 21, 2023. He also copped the 200m butterfly and 1,500m freestyle golds, and a 4X50 medley relay team gold.
"In God's will, five golds po (In God's will, I aim to win five golds)," the 17-year-old swimming sensation said in a Facebook interview with SunStar Davao earlier.
Labanon acknowledged the challenges of competing in this year's Batang Pinoy, marked by many entries.
Often assigned to the last heat, he patiently waited for his turn, particularly in the 1,500m freestyle where he competed in the 16th heat.
He added, "It is tiring po, but there’s no glory without sacrifice."
GOLD AT LAST!
Maica Angela Garcia of Davao City secured a well-deserved gold medal on the final day of the 2023 Batang Pinoy national swimming championships on Friday morning, December 22, 2023.
After claiming two silvers earlier, Garcia clocked 36.12 seconds to rule the girls 18-above 50-meter breaststroke event over Santa Rosa City's Nicole Meah Pamintuan (37.49) and Jasmine Therese Obra (38.69) of Mandaluyong City.
The 18-year-old Ateneo de Davao University standout clinched the silvers in 200m and 100m breaststroke events.
Over at the PhilSports Complex in Pasig City, Davao City annexed the silver medal in the boys 18-above 400m medley relay event of the 2023 Philippine National Games swimming championships with the combined efforts of Philip Adrian Sahagun, Francis Greg Espiritu, John Michael Catamco, and Josh Michael Lao.
Dabawenya Maiki Samantha Gonzaga salvaged a bronze in the girls' 18-above 100m butterfly event. MLSA