Grade 2 gymnast from Davao hopes for medal to help siblings

Randall Matthew Lorayes

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Grade 2 gymnast from Davao hopes for medal to help siblings
8-year-old Jhonax Superlativo hopes to win in this year’s Palarong Pambansa so he can help his parents and siblings

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – He may be small at only 3-foot-4, but don’t be fooled. This boy from Matanao, Davao del Sur can already perform routines that are usually for secondary student gymnasts.

This is quite a feat for Jhonax Superlativo, a Grade 2 student from Sinawilan Elementary School in the town of Matanao, because he was not even into sports. It was the husband of his eventual coach, Primitiva Lumen, who saw his potential.

Hindi yan talaga kasama sa team na tine-train namin. Nandiyan lang siya sa gilid. Nanonood kung anong ginagawa ng mga atleta namin. Ginagayaniya,” Lumen shared. “Tapos nakita ng asawa ko, (sabi niya) ‘tawagin mo nga yung maliit na bata, pasalihin niyo dito.’

(He was not really part of the team to be trained. He was there on the side, watching what our athletes were doing and trying to imitate them. Then, my husband saw him and said: ‘call that small child, let him join us here.’)

The 8-year-old is back at Palaro this year to compete once more in the elementary boys gymnastics on Wednesday, April 13 at Saint Agnes’ Academy.

He failed to win a medal last year, only finishing fourth. But he’s hoping things will be different this time.

3 FEET. A health official measures the height of Jhonax Superlativo. The little student-athlete is only 3-foot-4 tall. Photo by Randall Matthew Lorayes/Rappler

Gold and cash

When he competed in the regional meet, he got a gold medal and an incentive amounting to P10,000. Add that to his allowances and he went home with P50,000.

Lumen didn’t accept the money and let Superlativo’s father, a habal-habal  (motorcycle taxi) driver, personally accept it from event officials. She recalled how the young kid’s father was in tears at that moment.

Mula daw nung bata pa siya, sabi niya, P15,000 lang daw ang pinakamalaking pera na nahawakan niya. Dahil sa kanyang anak, nakahawak siya ng P50,000.” (Ever since his father was a child, he said the largest amount of money he ever held was P15,000. But because of his son, he was able to hold P50,000.)

With that money, Superlativo’s family was able to make significant home improvements – concrete floor, galvanized iron roof, kitchen and dining utensils. 

Superlativo hopes he will win this time around to receive incentives to buy clothes for his 5 other siblings and appliances such as a refrigerator.

More confident this year

This year, the silver and bronze medalists at Palaro will get incentives for the first time amounting to P1,500 and P750, respectively. Gold medalists will get the usual P3,000.

Lumen believes Superlativo now learned a lot more when it comes to gymnastics and is confident that he will win.

Talagang may mararating si Jhonax. Palagi ko siya sinasabihan na ayusin [niya] para makapag-aral ka ng college. Tapos para makatulong pa sa mga kapatid [niya],” she said. (Jhonax will definitely be going places. He is always told to do his best so that he can study in college and also continue to help his siblings.)

Indeed, this little gymnast has years – and big dreams – ahead of him. – with reports from Mars G. Alison/ 

Randall Matthew Lorayes is a Rappler intern on his third year in AB Broadcasting in Bicol University.

More 2016 Palarong Pambansa stories:




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