'Yolanda' victims shine in Batang Pinoy

By Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 31 2014 09:32 AM | Updated as of Jan 31 2014 05:32 PM

Tacloban's Janario surges to five golds

BACOLOD CITY , Philippines – Karen Janario of Leyte Sports Academy-Smart whipped up a storm and completed her romp in athletics with five gold medals in the Batang Pinoy National Finals yesterday at Panaad Stadium.

A survivor of typhoon Yolanda in her hometown Tacloban, the 5-foot-6 Janario put up a record-smashing run in the 200 meters then joined LSA’s winning 4x400 m relay to cap her stint as one of the brightest stars in the 15-and-under tourney.

Similarly capturing gold No. 5 were Alexis Soqueño of Negros First, who blitzed his way to the 400 m hurdles and 4x400m in record fashion, and swimmer Jenkins Lorenzo Labao of Baguio, who scooped up three more mints in the pool.

Winner of the century dash the previous day, 14-year-old Janario came out charging and pulled off a runaway triumph in 25.7 seconds, obliterating the old 200m meet mark of 26.24. Joycie Beranio of Negros (26.0) and Elrica Guro of Iloilo (26.6) settled for runner-up honors.

Not done yet, the dusky Taclobanon teamed up with Rose Marie Olorvida, Feiza Jane Lenton, and Gemmalyn Pino in ruling the relay in 4:07.8, bettering the previous standard by nearly nine seconds.

Janario’s story inspires as she embodies Yolanda victims’ determination to get back on their feet. Her house in Libertad, Leyte was devastated and she had to transfer to Manila, along with her LSA teammates for temporary residence and training at Rizal Memorial.

“May konting lungkot dahil walang bahay pero masaya rin dahil nakakuha ng five golds (I have mixed emotions because we lost our house in Tacloban but happy that I won five golds here),” said Janario, who also topped her favorite 110m hurdles, 100m and 4x100m relay on Day One.

The rising star is being eyed for training in the US under coach Ryan Flaherty.

Carrying the fight for the hometown bets was Soqueño, who went five-for-five.

The reed-thin, 5-foot-8 Bacolod City resident clocked 56.8 seconds to beat Pangasinan’s Ludivico Dela Cruz Jr. (57.4) , and Negros teammate Rodrigo Delaben for the 400m hurdles crown. He later anchored Negros’ romp in the 4x400m relay (3:34.6). Both were new meet records, his third after resetting the high jump mark the other day.

“I met my goal of winning five golds and this one’s special for me because I am competing in front of my family and friends,” said Soqueño.

University of Baguio junior Labao continued his assault on the mints over at the nearby pool. He racked up victories in boys’ 13-15 50-meter butterfly (28.14) and 400-m IM (5:08.94) and won the boys’ 15-U 200m freestyle relay in partnership with Neil Nazarro, Renz Guiller Gawilan and Dan Christian Leyba (1:52.51).

Malolos’ Marc Aubrey Santos hiked his collection to four golds after topping the boys’ 11-12 200m free (2:15.75) and 1,500m free (18:48.14).

Over at the old airport track, Bacolod City bet Maia Yusay topped the girls’ mountain bike (two laps, 12 kilometers) in 36 minutes, 50.34 seconds; Cebu’s Ana Patricia Maximo dominated road cycling in 46:03.34; Davao’s Brylle Cocjin reigned in boys MTB (4 laps, 24 kms) in 57:48.16; and Emmanuel delos Santos leading a 1-2-3 finish for Pangasinan in road cycling (1:15:59.64).

Stamping their class in chess at the New Government Center Masskara Hall were Bacolod’s Stevenson Garong in boys rapid (six points); Cebu City’s Christian Klent Pondoyo in boys blitz (five points); Dasmariñas, Cavite’s Marie Antoinette San Diego in girls rapid (six points), and Sta. Rosa, Laguna’s Shania Mae Mendoza in girls blitz (5.5 points).