Father-son bonding time turns into golden moment

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 04:13 AM December 04, 2019

MTB downhill gold medalists John Derrick Farr and Lea Belgira holding up their SEA Games medals. Photo by Cedelf Tupas

LAUREL, BATANGAS–Mountain bike enthusiast Frederick Farr remembers the time when he took his then 11-year-old son, John Derrick, for the first time in the trail that is now known as Tatlong Bungo (Three Skulls) here.

“Riding the bike was our way of bonding as father and son,” says Farr, now the coach of the national mountain bike team. “I took him on this trail for the first time when he was 11.”Father and son would be back here so many times, enjoying their rides together, the view, training and competing.


“My wife (Melody) would get mad because there were times when John Derrick would come home with a gash or a wound because of an accident from riding the bike. I told her it would pay off someday.”

When John Derrick learned that the men’s mountain bike downhill event of the Southeast Asian Games would be staged in Laurel, he was giddy, knowing that he already had an advantage because of his familiarity of the trail.


As the 23-year-old rider from Las Piñas stormed to the finish line, a familiar face was also waiting for him as he took off his helmet.

“Papa whispered that I had the best time and that I had won the gold,” said John Derrick, who clocked two minutes and 41.143 seconds, edging teammate Eleazar Barba Jr. (2:42.503).
The older Farr said his son had contemplated on quitting mountain bike as the event was not included in the cycling calendar in the last two editions of the SEA Games.

But as soon as he learned that the SEA Games at home would include his pet event, Frederick said John Derrick found fresh motivation to get better.

“There were times when he would get lazy because there’s really no competition to look forward to, but because of the SEA Games, I think I saw his work ethic really improve,” said Frederick.

“He was in the gym, working out, and overall, he was just taking care of his body better because he knew it will come into play in the SEA Games.”

John Derrick is grateful that his father, who has been there with him every step of the way in his quest for glory, was there to share his winning moment.

“We shared this dream of winning the gold together and I’m very happy that it has happened,” John Derrick added. INQ


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