Palaro: Obiena breaks own record, Verdadero also gets 200m gold
SAN JOSE, ANTIQUE—Pole vaulter Francis Edward Obiena smashed his own record and Veruel Verdadero completed a sprint double on the penultimate day of the 60th Palarong Pambansa here.
Obiena, who saved the country’s campaign in the recent Southeast Asian Athletics Youth Championship from completely falling apart, cleared 4.30 meters to erase the meet standard he set last year (4.06m) in Legaspi City, Albay.
“I’m confident on breaking the record because I’m in good shape,’’ said the 17-year-old son of Edward Obiena who holds the pole vault NCAA record and bronze medalist in Southeast Asian Games decathlon.
Mark Del Rosario of Cagayan settled for the silver (3.70m) and Central Luzon’s John Paul Parulan placed
From all indications, not even a miracle could supplant National Capital Region from securing its 13th straight overall title in the biggest sportsfest for elementary and high school athletes.
As of 12 noon, powerhouse Metro Manila has jacked up its collection to 79 gold, 44 silver and 34 bronze medals, more than half of the yield that Western Visayas (31-18-27) and Southern Tagalog (22-45-38) were able to churn out after seven days.
By the time individual competitions wind up early tonight, Western Visayas and Southern Tagalog will have no choice but to source out their gold medals from basketball and volleyball at the most. These teams sports offer only one gold for each level.
Verdadero, the fastest man in the Palaro, nearly wiped out the existing standard in the secondary boys 200m with a 21.90-second performance in beating Cagayan’s John Carlo Yuzon (22.34). National team standout Jomar Udtohan’s 21.80-second record in 2014 Sta. Cruz, Laguna remained intact.
It was the fourth gold for the 15-year-old from Dasmarinas, Cavite after he helped Southern Tagalog win the 4x400m relay at the Binirayan Sport Complex track oval with Joviane Calixto, Jan Vincent Alejandro and Mark Roldan Elises.
They clocked 3:22.64, just a fraction of a second slower than the 3:22.10 mark of NCR in 2014 led by Udtohan.
“It was a split-second difference on both races,’’ said Verdadero, the incoming Grade 9 student from Immaculate Concepcion Academy in Cavite who also ruled the 100m and 400m. “It means I have to train more.’’
Two more records fell on the track after Southern Tagalog’s Jessel Lumapas, a silver medalist in the SEA Youth Championships held in Ilagan City, clinched her second gold in the secondary girls 4x400m relay in 3:54.37 with Millifagne Christine Matchino, Charmaine De Ocampo and Elvievane Gobotia.
They ripped apart the standard of Eastern Visayas (3:56.43) done in the previous Palaro in Albay. Lumapas, Verdadero’s training partner, also defended her 400m title late Thursday.
Ana Marie Eugenio struck Junelou Cabal’s 19-year standard (1:08.6) out of the record books with a 1:08.03 performance in elementary girls 400m hurdles.
Taekwondo jins from Metro Manila pocketed eight of 20 medals at stake courtesy of lightweight Gian Carlo Gutierrez, light middle Jared Pasilao, middleweight Ramcess Bautista, bantam Alexa Rabino, Dexian Chavez (58kg), Harley Vincent Santos (68kg), Alvaro Joaquin Aranton (80kg) and Abigail Valdez (49kg).
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