BACOLOD CITY, Philippines - – Karen Janario of Leyte Sports Academy-Smart swept the Batang Pinoy National Finals’ athletics competitions with a Yolanda-like force as the Taclobanon stormed her way to two gold medals in a span of 20 minutes yesterday at Panaad Park and Stadium here.
One of 30 young bets from Tacloban who are trying to move on after the harrowing disaster, Janario overpowered the opposition in the girls’ 100-meter hurdles and after a brief respite, duplicated the feat in the century dash as the Leyte team made its presence felt in the 15-and-under competitions.
Gifted with long, powerful legs, the 5-foot-6 Janario showcased her awesome finishing kick, zooming past her rivals in the last three hurdles to win the 100m hurdles in 16.46. Left on the trail of the dusky teener were Niña Marie Antiola of Cebu (16.65) and Ann Magdalene Tubal of Bacolod (16.80).
Janario, 14, reported for action 20 minutes later and once again, despite a relatively slow start, blitzed her way to the finish line and outsprinted everyone in the last 25 meters to complete a double. Janario timed 12.71 to crown herself the “fastest girl” of the joust over Taguig’s Celestina de Castro (12.88) and LSA bet Rose Marie Olorvido (12.95).
“My target is to win five gold medals in this competition,” said Janario, who will gun for the other mints in the 4x100m, 4x400m and 200m events.
Bets from Negros, Malolos and Baguio City shared the limelight with Janario as action went full blast in various venues here.
Bacolodnon Alexis Soqueño, representing Negros First, delivered a record-breaking conquest in boys’ high jump and added the boys’ 110-m hurdles plum for a place in the double-gold winners’ club.
Marc Audrey Santos of Malolos City (boys’ 11-12 400m freestyle and 12-U 100m free) and Jenkins Lawrence Labao of Baguio City (boys’ 13-15 400m free and 15-U 200m medley relay) joined this group with two-gold romps in swimming.
The 5-foot-8 Soqueño cleared the bar in 1.93 meters on his second try, obliterating the meet’s previous best of 1.80 meters set by Resty Lorenzo in 2012 in Iloilo. Keith Mario Quilo of Urdaneta (1.90m) and Cesar Fernandez of Negros (1.80m) took second and third.
“I was gunning for 1.95m but I was already getting tired and I had to still play two events later,” said Soqueño, a silver medalist in last year’s Palarong Pambansa.
He continued his winning ways in the hurdles, clocking 14.77 seconds to beat Ludovico dela Cruz of Pangasinan (15.45) and Kim Dancil of LSA (15.60).
A triple gold medalist in the last Palaro, Santos went two-for-three with winning times of 4:44.71 (400m free) and 1:03.08 (100m free) and a silver effort of 2:37.52 in the boys’ 11-12 200m butterfly.
Labao submitted 4:34.87 in ruling the 13-15 400m free and dominated the relay in 2:07.05 in partnership with Dan Christian Leyba, Renz Gawidan, and Neil Nazarro.
Also pocketing golds in athletics were Baguio’s Rey Mark Quesada who reigned in the 5,000-meter run (17:10.2); Bacolod City resident Romerose Villanueva, who won the girls long jump (5.18); Pangasinan’s Mariz Sabado who snared the girls 2,000m walk (14:23.6) plum, and Iloilo’s Lanz Jeremy Halongong, who retained the boys discus throw title (36.30).
In gymnastics over at University of St. La Salle, Parañaque topped the cheerleading competitions with 232.5 points while Iligan (122.5) and Iriga (249) took the mints in group stunts and cheer dance events, respectively.