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Destitute athletes find gold in Vigan games

/ 05:03 AM April 17, 2018

VIGAN CITY—Cagayan Valley and Bicol Region captured three of the first bunch of gold medals that came out of track and field Monday at the start of competitions in the 2018 Palarong Pambansa at President Elpidio Quirino Stadium here.

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Lheslie de Lima, Rashied Faith Burdeos and Algin Gomez won their respective events but just as quickly put a somber tone to their victories after bringing to light one thing they share: Poverty.

The trio, who braved the searing heat on the day the temperature hit 38-degrees Celsius, said they want to get a college education that their parents could not afford.

De Lima of Baao, Camarines Sur, clocked 10 minutes and 6.54 seconds to dominate the secondary girls’ 3,000-meter at the break of dawn to earn the Games’ first gold medal.

The fifth of seven children, the 13-year-old De Lima said she would like to help her family through track and field.

“My father is a rice farmer, my mother is a housewife,” said the seventh grader in Filipino.

The silver medalist in last year’s 800m, De Lima came out on top this time, besting Northern Mindanao’s Camila Tubiano (10:07.07) and Western Visayas’ Grace Tejones (10:52.99).

A few minutes later at the far end of the stadium, Aparri native Algin Gomez ruled the boys’ secondary gold with a leap of 6.96 meters, beating Mimaropa’s James Oliver Meim (6.88m) and Central Visayas’ Lowell Jay Batobalani (6.76m).

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“I hope to get a scholarship because my dream is to finish college,” said the 5-foot-9 Gomez, whose father drives a tricycle for a living.

Rashied Faith Burdeos of Cagayan Valley ruled the elementary girls’ shot put and dedicated the win to her jobless parents.

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