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Negrense Elika Salmorin walks to Batang Pinoy-Visayas’ first gold


Elika Salmorin of Negros Occidental ruled the girls’ 2000m walk to emerge as the first gold medal winner in the Visayas Leg of the 2019 Philippine National Youth Games-Batang Pinoy at the Iloilo Sports Complex in Iloilo City.

Salmorin, 14, beat Rhyza Vaflor of Escalante, Negros Occidental by clocking 14 minutes and 16.08 seconds. She claimed the week-long event’s very first gold and a spot in the National Finals set in October, in either Ormoc City or Tagbilaran, Bohol.

Vaflor timed in 14:36.48 to end up with a silver.

The Grade Nine Romanito Maravilla, Sr. National High School student later dedicated the win to her epileptic 25-year-old brother Eduardo.

“This is for him (Eduardo). Whatever amount I get from here, I will spend it for his medicines,” said Salmorin in Filipino.

Cebu Province struck hard in centerpiece athletics thanks to golden efforts by Gio Baguna, who reigned supreme in boys’ discus throw in 36.79m; and Donalita Torres, who ruled the girls high jump in 1.35m.

Bago City’s Kate Julienne Martinez (girls’ shotput) and New Washington, Aklan’s Din Wel Barrosa (boys’ long jump) were the other winners in the track and field’s morning events.

Over at the pool, Ormoc and Negros Occidental went neck-and-neck, as each harvested four golds.

Coby Marcus Rivilla and Maria Angela Cimafranca spearheaded Ormoc’s charge with triumphs in the boys’ 12-and-under 200m individual medley in 2:44.67 and girls 13-15 years old 200m IM in 2:44.68, respectively.

Rex dela Cruz, Jr. copped the 50m backstroke gold for boys 12-and-under in 35.93; and Martina Anele Estrella snared the 50m backstroke mint for girls 12-and-under in 37.68 to account for Ormoc’s other mints.

#ReadMore  Dumaguete's Naina Tagle claims 7th gold

The 11-year-old Rivilla, an Ormoc Immaculate School Foundation fifth-grader, had a chance to pocket a second gold in the 100m freestyle. Unfortunately, he lost to eventual winner Troy Castor of Negros Occidental and settled for the silver.

Castor checked in at 1:07.94 to deliver one of Negros Occidental’s four swim victories.

Alexie Kouzenye Cabayaran emerged the first double-gold medal winner after she topped the girls’ 13-15 100m free in 1:02.36 and 50m back in 32.01.

Jay-R Punzalan topped the 50m back for 13-15 boys in 30.61 for Negros Occidental only other gold.

Iloilo City’s Kristel Rhey Napallatan splashed her way to the 12-under 200m IM gold in 2:49.94 to give host Iloilo its very first gold.

Iloilo City also smashed Dumaguete with a quick, merciless 7-0 win to set in motion its gold medal bid baseball at the La Paz grounds.

The host chances increased as only three entered the event, which will apply a double-round robin format with the best record after it takes the gold. The other team that entered is Carmen, Cebu.

Other swim winners were Antique’s Guiliver Clemente (200m IM for 13-15 boys) and Tagbilaran’s Anthony Jude Presas (100m free for 13-15 boys).

Cebu City, which was tipped to lord it over this event that is open for in and out-of-school athletes aged 15 years and below being the best performing local government unit in last year’s Visayas Leg in Dumaguete, had a slow start and had no golds to show at press time.

But it made its presence felt in boys’ basketball after it destroyed Dulag, Leyte, 71-23, to set in motion its title bid at the Iloilo Sports Complex Covered Gym.

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