Negros Occidental claims 1st gold in Batang Pinoy Visayas 2019
Elika Salmorin of Negros Occidental dedicates her victory to her 25-year-old brother Eduardo, who suffers from epilepsy

1ST GOLD. Elika Salmorin of Negros Occidental rules the girls 2000m walk to emerge the first gold medal winner in the Visayas Leg of the 2019 Philippine National Youth Games-Batang Pinoy. Photo from release

MANILA, Philippines – Elika Salmorin of Negros Occidental ruled the girls’ 2000-meter walk to emerge as the first gold medal winner in the Visayas Leg of the 2019 Philippine National Youth Games-Batang Pinoy at the Iloilo Sports Complex. 

Salmorin, 14, bested team mate Rhyza Vaflor of Escalante by clocking 14 minutes and 16.08 seconds to also claim a spot in the National Finals set in October in either Ormoc City or Tagbilaran, Bohol.

Vaflor timed in 14:36.48 to end up with a silver.

The Grade Nine Romanito Maravilla Sr National High School student later dedicated the win to her epileptic 25-year-old brother Eduardo.

“This is for him (Eduardo). Whatever amount I get from here, I will spend it for his medicines,” said Salmorin in Filipino.

Cebu province struck hard in centerpiece athletics thanks to golden efforts by Gio Baguna, who reigned supreme in boys’ discus throw in 36.79m, and Donalita Torres, who ruled the girls high jump in 1.35m.

Bago City’s Kate Julienne Martinez (girls’ shotput) and New Washington, Aklan’s Din Wel Barrosa (boys’ long jump) were the other winners in the track and field’s morning events.

Over at the pool, Ormoc and Negros Occidental went neck and neck as they harvested 4 golds each.

Coby Marcus Rivilla and Maria Angela Cimafranca spearheaded Ormoc’s charge with triumphs in the boys’ 12-and-under 200m individual medley in 2:44.67 and girls 13-15 years old 200m IM in 2:44.68, respectively.

Rex dela Cruz Jr copped the 50m backstroke gold for boys 12-and-under in 35.93 and Martina Anele Estrella snared the 50m backstroke mint for girls 12-and-under in 37.68.

The 11-year-old Rivilla, an Ormoc Immaculate School Foundation fifth-grader, had a chance to pocket a second gold in the 100m freestyle but lost to eventual winner Troy Castor of Negros Occidental and settled for silver.

Castor checked in at 1:07.94 to deliver one of Negros Occidental’s 4 swim victories.

Alexie Kouzenye Cabayaran emerged the first double-gold medal winner after she topped the girls’ 13-15 100m free in 1:02.36 and 50m back in 32.01.

Jay-R Punzalan topped the 50m back for 13-15 boys in 30.61 for Negros Occidental only other gold.

Iloilo City’s Kristel Rhey Napallatan splashed her way to the 12-under 200m IM gold in 2:49.94 to give tournament host its very first gold.

In baseball, Iloilo City also smashed Dumaguete with a quick, merciless 7-0 win to set in motion its gold medal bid at the La Paz grounds.

The host’s chances increased as only 3 teams entered the event, which will apply a double round-robin format with the best record after it takes the gold. The other team that entered is Carmen, Cebu.

Other swimming winners were Antique’s Guiliver Clemente (200m IM for 13-15 boys) and Tagbilaran’s Anthony Jude Presas (100m free for 13-15 boys).

Cebu City, which was tipped to lord over Batang Pinoy after being the best performing local government unit in last year’s Visayas Leg in Dumaguete, had a slow start and had no golds as of posting.

But it made its presence felt in boys’ basketball after it destroyed Dulag, Leyte, 71-23, to set in motion its title bid at the Iloilo Sports Complex Covered Gym. –