Photo: Jesamae Licup grimaces in the finish line. RUDY ESPERAS
INDANG, Cavite – Jaymark Balicha and Jesamae Licup of the Philippine Army claimed the distinction as the first gold medalists in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Games Regional Qualifying Luzon leg on Monday at the Cavite State University track oval here.
Balicha, an Information Technology student at the Don Mariano Marcos State University in San Fernando, La Union, beat teammate Richard Caralipio via hairline in the men’s 200-meter run clocking 23.46 seconds to claim the first gold medal at stake in the school-based meet.
Caralipio was running side by side with Balicha up to the final 10 meters but settled for silver with a timed of 23.50 seconds in the first Finals duel in an athletics event in the five-day meet, jointly organized by the Department of National Defense (DND) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in partnership with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Local Government Units (LGUs) and the Office of Senator Francis ‘Tol’ Tolentino.
“Halos, isang hatawan kami, sabay na sabay, nakahigit lang ng konti parang umayon yung tulak ng hangin. Suwerte ko, medyo nakabawi ako sa laban namin sa eliminations,” said Balicha, referring to their duel in the previous heat where he placed second to Caralipio.
On the distaff side, Licup, a last-minute entry from the University of Baguio, dominated the field finishing at 26.7 seconds, almost three seconds ahead of Wendimae Rada of Occidental State Colleges (29.6). Katherine Sario claimed the bronze medal at 30.1 seconds.
The BS Criminology freshman student was emotional after the race as she was overwhelmed with the results, considering that she was a last-minute entry by the coaching staff as she was coming off from a weekly relay event organized by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association in Manila a week before.
“Last-minute decision ko sumali kasi sabi ng superior namin sa school na sumali ako kasi sayang naman ang chance kasi hindi ko pa na-fulfill yong registration requirements. Buti na lang nakumpleto ko at nakasali,” she said.
Both Balicha and Licup and all medalists in the Luzon leg as well as winners in the two previous qualifying in the Visayas leg in Iloilo and Mindanao leg in Zamboanga City will advance to the National Finals slated October 22-27, just a week after the National Capital Region leg of the Games on October 8 to 14.
In partial preliminary volleyball results, Tarlac State University whipped Grandby Colleges of Science and Technology 25-7, 25-7, 25-13; Mariano Marcos State University shut out Don Honorio State University 25-0, 25-0, 25-0; and Kurios Christian Colleges Foundation crushed Asian Institute of Science and Technology 25-0, 25-0, 25-0 in Pool A Army matches.