De Vega ‘heir apparent’ eyes world junior meet
SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD Zion Corrales Nelson is pining for a spot on the Philippine team for next year’s world junior athletics championships in Kazan, Russia.
And the Filipino-Canadian from Burnaby in Vancouver, British Columbia, believes it’s hers for the taking with a few more results.
“That’s my goal. Hopefully I can represent the Philippines [in World juniors],” said Nelson, who swept all her three sprints events last April in a meet in Eugene, Oregon.
She clocked 12.15 seconds in ruling the century dash, 24.75 seconds in the 200m and 57.03 seconds in the 400m while competing for her school, Burnaby’s St. Thomas More Collegiate, during the Oregon relays held at Hayward Field.
Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association president Philip Juico has taken notice of her talent and says, “She’s a potential who bears watching.”
Nelson broke into the limelight last year after she broke the national record in the 400m during a meet in Langley, Canada. The 5-foot-9 lass ran 54.18 seconds, resetting the 54.75 record of the legendary Lydia de Vega which had stood since 1981.
Juico then got in touch with Nelson’s grandmother, Edna, to say that the girl could be included in Patafa’s Olympic program.
But since April this year, Nelson has been busy joining meets to qualify for the world juniors and missed joining the Philippine team to the recent Southeast Asian Games.
The second of three girls, Nelson’s father works in the real estate industry while her mother is a lawyer born in Canada with roots in Tarlac City.
Though she regretted not competing in the SEA Games, Nelson said she’s taking it slow.
With her speed, she would have formed a knockout partnership with reigning SEA Games sprint queen Kayla Anise Richardson in the relays.
The 12th grader, who dreams of pursuing a degree in bio-chemical engineering, actually represented the country last year in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, where she placed fifth in the 400m.
After lording it over in Oregon, Nelson sustained a stress fracture on her shin which required long therapy.
“She’s very good in academics that’s why coaches line up to offer her scholarships,” said her grandmother Edna.
Coming from a family of athletes, Nelson is a first cousin to Arellano University basketball stalwart Zachary Nicholls and New York Rangers ace Josh Nicholls.
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