The fall and rise of Marylyn Avila

Alexx Esponga
Marylyn Avila overcame an opening-day defeat to fulfill her dream of winning a Palaro gold medal.

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines — Marylyn Avila woke up early Monday with high hopes. After three years of not winning any medal in the Palarong Pambansa, the drought could be over today, she thought.

And when the qualifying round in the 100m hurdles began, Avila raced off the blocks, her face showing the gigil that three years of frustration brought, as she left her opponents biting the dust.

With just a few strides left from the finish line, the unthinkable happened.

Avila hit a hurdle and fell by the track. She tried to get up immediately, but was ran over by a chasing competitor. In a split second, the months of training vanished into thin air.

To say it was tragic is an understatement.

“It’s the first time that I suffered something like this,” the 16-year-old told Rappler a few hours after the accident. 

Bruises filled Avila’s arms and legs and as a matter of fact, she had to be carried off the Gov. Mariano Perdices Memorial Stadium Oval by paramedics as she wailed in pain and agony.

But Marylyn was adamant.

“I didn’t mind the pain. I don’t care about my wounds,” Avila, who fortunately did not sustain serious injuries, said.

The NCR bet might have lost that battle. But she didn’t give up until she won the war.

In the afternoon, she was back on the track, her dreams of finally stepping into the Palarong Pambansa podium back on track.

Two days after, Marylyn Avila is a champion.


“I told myself that I will not let anything stop me,” she shared after nabbing gold in the 400m hurdles. “This is my last year that’s why I really fought with all my might.”

Even her run to the gold wasn’t easy, as Avila had to come from behind to get past two Western Visayas bets to emerge on top. 

Her golden sprint epitomized what the NCR meet MVP has been doing all her life: Never say never.

After the race, Avila ran to one of her coaches, with tears of joy trickling down her eyes as she hugged her mentor.

She has conquered. 

Later in the afternoon, she doubled her haul with a bronze medal in the 800m run, sealing her final campaign in the Palaro with victories she was never able to achieve before.

“I wanted to win the MVP here, but I lost in my first event,” she said. “But I’m happy now that I finally won a gold medal.” – Photos by Roy Secretario/Rappler.com

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