DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines – Western Visayas' Jerremay Rubias and Renzy John Gemolaga and National Capital Region's Jan Resty Lorenzo dominated their respective events to pocket the first gold medals in the Palarong Pambansa which went full blast yesterday at the Gov. Mariano Perdices Memorial Stadium here.
Rubias, 15, actually nailed the meet’s first gold when she bested Caraga’s Rizalyn Apos and Cagayan Valley’s Jovelyn Notario in secondary girls’ javelin throw with a heave of 39.59 meters. Apos and Notario took the silver and bronze medals with 37.89m and 36.05m effort, respectively.
Rubias' first gold in the annual multi-sports meet for elementary and secondary athletes more than made up for her setbacks as an elementary bet, including a silver medal finish in Tarlac City three years ago.
"It was an experience I could not forget, that's why I used it as motivation during my training," said Rubias in Filipino.
What made the victory sweeter was that Rubias also beat Central Visayas' Gia Bucag, who bested her in Tarlac but struggled to finish fifth this year.
Gemolaga, 17, delivered the second gold for Western Visayas, topping shot put with a 13.65m throw. Central Luzon’s Bryan Jay Pacheco took the silver in 13.37m while NCR’s Garry Santiago posted a 13.36m heave to place third.
Like Rubias, it was also a first high school medal for Gemolaga, who also had to settle for silver in the elementary division in Tacloban City three years ago.
"This is my last year in the Palarong Pambansa so it's really nice to win a gold medal," said Gemolaga, a Cambito, Iloilo native who just graduated from high school.
Confusion, however, marred the first full day of competitions in the annual event after track and field officials announced that Gemolaga’s feat had shattered the 23-year-old mark of 13.19-m set by Arthtur Anon of then Western Mindanao.
But after verifying, the old mark had actually used a shot put that weighed 7.26 kilos before organizers changed it to six kilos seven years ago. The current record for the lighter metal ball is 13.90-m set by Western Visayas' Richee Cabanyog in Lingayen, Pangasinan last year.
Lorenzo, meanwhile, ruled the secondary boys long jump in 6.66m, beating Bicol’s Rafael Bueno (6.55-m) and Davao’s Lord John Roilo (6.52-m) to kick off the Big City bets’ campaign.
"It's a happy feeling," said the 15-year-old Lorenzo, a third year student at San Sebastian who emerged the most outstanding player in elementary boys athletics in the Tarlac City edition of the annual meet.
In football, Western Visayas, a team comprising mostly of booters from Barotac Nuevo, leaned on a 65th minute goal of forward Joshua Sapina to beat Cagayan Valley, 2-1.