Orphaned high jumper has message to parents: ‘I am special’
DAVAO CITY—Kent Bryan Celeste grew up under the care of his grandparents and had seen his mother only once since birth.
The 17-year-old from Anda, Pangasinan, used this touchy issue as an effective motivational tool to reset his own record in high jump Wednesday in the Palarong Pambansa at University of Mindanao athletics field.
“I want to prove to my parents that I am special, I wish they did not abandon me,” said an emotional Celeste in Filipino, tears rolling down his cheeks.
Celeste cleared 2.02 meters under sunny skies for the gold medal, a feat that erased the 1.99m record that he set in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, last year. He tried to clear 2.05m but failed thrice.
“To be honest, I want to become a coach someday, so I can share the talent that I have to other kids,” said Celeste, an incoming BS Physical Education freshman at Mapua Institute of Technology.
Meanwhile, Bernalyn Bejoy of Bacolod City, the 400m hurdles winner, seized her second gold in the secondary girls’ 400m after clocking 57.61 seconds to nose out Charmaine De Ocampo of Calabarzon (57.73) and Divina Mahusay of Bicol (57.85).
“It’s the extra effort that she puts in during training. I hope she’ll make it to the Southeast Asian Games this year,” said Edgar Laforteza, Bejoy’s coach and the Philippine Sports Commission’s pointman in Negros Occidental.
Another poignant scene unfolded on the other end of the field when Gennah Malapit of Tanay, Rizal, broke the record in the elementary girls’ javelin throw.