Palaro speedster runs toward hope, brighter future
SAN JOSE, ANTIQUE—Bianca Jane Combate has found running as a way of life.
The 14-year-old from Bato, Leyte, burst out of the starting blocks and leaned on her powerful closing speed to become the fastest woman Wednesday in the 60th Palarong Pambansa.
“I have to be at my best because this is the only way I could earn a living,” said Combate in Filipino after topping the centerpiece secondary girls’ 100-meter sprint.
She obtained a full scholarship from the Leyte Sports Academy after her father, Bernie, died a year ago due to a digestive illness. Her mother, Merly, is jobless.
“I get to eat every day because of my scholarship,” said Combate, the third of three siblings. “As for my family, I don’t know their source of income and how they manage to survive.”
The Eastern Visayas sprint ace didn’t come close to the record of Nancy Navalta (11.90 seconds) during the 1997 Palaro but her 12.38-second finish at Binirayan Sports Complex track oval was enough for the gold.
Veruel Verdadero of Cavite ruled the secondary boys’ 100m in 10.96 seconds.
Records continued to fall in secondary swimming after NCR tankers Maurice Sacho Ilustre reset his old mark in the boys’ 100m freestyle, Drew Magbag eclipsed the standard in 200m breast stroke and Bela Louise Magtibay in the girls’ 200m breast.
Ilustre captured the 100m free (52.97 seconds) to erase his own record (54.15) last year in Albay to bring his total to four golds.
He also ruled the 400m medley relay in 4:01.16 with Jerald Jacinto, Andrei Pogiongko and Magbag. The quartet eclipsed the 2015 mark (4:07.00) set by NCR where Ilustre, Pogiongko and Magbag also saw action.
Magbag smashed the standard set by Mark Jiron Rotoni (2:28.85) with a 2:28.28 performance while Magtibay shattered the 19-year-old record of Jenny Guerrero (2:48.00) in 2:47.48.
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