LINGAYEN, Pangasinan - This year’s Palarong Pambansa has acquainted us with many talented young athletes.
One of them is Angelica De Josef of Western Visayas who has broken 2 athletics records so far.
With a time of 2:18.8, she set the new record for the 800m race. She also won the gold in the 400m event.
De Josef also competed in the 1500m race Thursday, May 10. In a bittersweet victory, she broke the 2011 4:53.10 record by Joneza Mie Sustituedo with her 4:49.9 finish, but only came second to Jie Anne Calis of NMRAA who clocked in at 4:48.9 and bagged the gold -- now the new record-holder.
The most surprising of all?
De Josef races barefoot.
Her Aklan coach, John Michael Ibo, told Rappler that his athlete prefers to run without shoes because she has become accustomed to training without them.
She does, however, don running shoes sometimes to prevent her feet from getting blisters due to the heated race tracks.
Ibo lovingly wraps his protégé's feet before every race, wrapping each toe with tape first, then the arch. Her heel is left exposed.
The 13-year-old who hails form Aklan is no stranger to track events, this Palaro being the second one she has competed in.
Last year, she bagged a silver at the 800m event, also breaking an old Palaro record. De Josef has been running for 4 years.
Next year, the young runner will be moving up onto the secondary level in the Palaro Games. She told Rappler that she will still be aiming for the gold when that happens.
According to Rappler’s medal tally, Western Visayas has been leading in Athletics with NCR and Calabarzon following.
Captured in photos below was the 1500m dash and de Josef's emotions as she crossed the finish line one second behind Calis, despite leading the whole race.