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Lucena tanker strikes the first Batang Pinoy gold

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ILOCOS SUR—A 12-year-old tanker from Lucena City captured the first gold medal in the Philippine Sports Commission’s Batang Pinoy National Championships that unfurled yesterday at the Quirino Stadium’s swimming pool here.

Kristian Yugo Cabana splashed his way to the boys’ 12-and-under 200-meter Individual Medley mint in two minutes and 29.50 seconds for the five-day meet’s first golden effort.

The seventh-grader from International School Lucena bested a field that included Kevin Bryle Chan of Valenzuela and Daniel Jonas Ocampo of Angeles City, who took the silver and bronze in 2:33.40 and 2:35.30, respectively, in the pool events that drew around a mammoth 1,400 participants.

“Natuwa po ako at na-excite kasi nag best time po ako, hindi ko po inexpect na best time,” said Cabana, who belongs from a swimming family that included an elder brother Yohan Mikhail, a UAAP relay gold winner from University of Santo Tomas.

And the Batang Pinoy first-timer hopes it isn’t his last as he is also scheduled to compete in four more events—the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly, and 200m freestyle at press time and in the coming days.

Also creating waves were Kyle Louise Bulaga of La Union and Evenezir Polancos, Jr. of General Santos City.

Bulaga surprised everyone by dominating the 200m IM for Under12 girls in 2:44.45 ahead of Ilocos Sur’s Makayla Bettina Fetalvero’s 2:51.80 and Bulacan’s Eunice de Guzman’s 2:52.59. Polancos, for his part, reigned supreme in the 200m IM for boys 13-15 years old in 2:18.50 as he edged Lucena’s Peter Cyrus Dean, who settled for the silver in 2:18.90. Mabalacat’s Shan Kervie Medina had the bronze in 2:22.70.

Other swim winners were Jeanne Dominic Bongotan of Baguio, Stacey Bernice Requiza of Davao City, Peter Cyrus Dean of Lucena and Richelle Anne Callera of Quezon City, all coming in the 50m backstroke.

Action is expected to intensify today in archery at the San Ildefonso Central School, centerpiece athletics in Bantay, cycling in front of the Provincial Capitol in Vigan and weightlifting at the Sta. Catalina Gym where gold medals are expected to come aplenty.

In cycling, the girls’ criterium event unfolds at 8 a.m. while the boys’ section will follow at 10:30 a.m. The individual time trial is scheduled tomorrow while the road race on the final day, Monday.

Over in chess at the Baluarte in Vigan, standard chess also begins while the rapid and blitz events are scheduled on the final two days on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Meanwhile, host Ilocos Sur Gov. Jerry Singson and PSC chair Noli Eala officially ushered in the agency’s centerpiece grassroots development program during the parade of colors that was also graced by Ilocos Sur Vice Gov. Ryan Luis Singson, PSC commissioner Olivia “Bong” Coo and Olympians Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Kiyomi Watanabe.

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