Philippine sports

Davao bags 1st gold in PH National Games; QC cyclist nails maiden mint in Batang Pinoy

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Davao bags 1st gold in PH National Games; QC cyclist nails maiden mint in Batang Pinoy

WALK. Davao City's Lyka Labrica Catubig in action in the 2023 Philippine National Games.


Davao City's Lyka Labrica Catubig claims the first gold in the Philippine National Games, while Quezon City's Aristen Aricela Ardice Dormitorio emerges as the inaugural gold winner in the Batang Pinoy

Davao City’s Lyka Labrica Catubig claimed the first gold in the Philippine National Games after ruling the women’s under-20 3km walk at the PhilSports Track Oval in Pasig on Monday, December 18.

Catubig woke up in the wee hours to travel from her billeting site in Manila to Pasig and broke the golden ice in the event marking its return after being shelved for four years due to the pandemic as she clocked 16:44.55.

Pasig’s Laurize Jeante Wangkay (16:51.98) settled for silver, while Pangasinan’s Jane Krizzel Buizon (16:52.35) bagged bronze.

“I didn’t expect to win in this race but I really prepared for this, that’s why I’m really happy to win the first gold of the PNG,” said Catubig in a mix of Filipino and English.

“It’s hard to train as an athlete while you’re studying, but as long as you’re dedicated and you train hard, you’ll overcome the challenges.”

Over in swimming, Bulacan’s Miguel Barreto scored a golden double as he topped the men’s 200m individual medley with a personal-best time of 2:09.94 and the men’s 100m freestyle with a time of 52.07 seconds.

“I’m proud for my province of Bulacan that I was able to become the PNG’s first double medalist,” said Barreto, the younger brother of fellow national swimmer Rafael.

Justin Santos (men’s U20 3km walk) and Ainah Marie Agapito Masangkay (women’s open discus throw) bagged a pair of mints for the hosts, while Pampanga’s Marvin Perez Ramos (men’s U20 long jump) also ruled.

In the Batang Pinoy held simultaneously with the PNG, Quezon City’s Aristen Aricela Ardice Dormitorio emerged as the inaugural gold winner as she reigned in the girls’ U13 criterium cycling at the Tagaytay Centrum.

The younger sibling of mountain bike multi-medalist Ariana, Dormitorio completed the 30-minute, three-lap race in 45:48.4 as she saw her rigorous training pay off.

“I’m happy. Meditation and prayers are part of my preparation,” said the Hope Integrated School student.

Iloilo’s Yvaine Oasias and Ysabel Nicole Jamero bagged silver and bronze, respectively.

In the boys’ division, Quezon City’s Jhaykarl Ophir Macapagal Nuaez nailed the gold, while General Santos’ Kyle Jabat Florez and Calapan’s Marc Jerenz Atienza of Calapan secured the silver and bronze, respectively.

The multi-event competition for 17-year-olds and below, organized annually by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), witnessed another standout athlete with an impressive sports pedigree. 

Matthew Diaz, the nephew of Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo, excelled in the boys’ U12 37kg weightlifting category.

Making his first stint in an organized competition, Diaz lifted 41kg in the snatch and 55kg in the clean and jerk, totaling 96kg and securing Rizal’s first gold in the weightlifting event.

“It’s nerve-racking because it’s my first time to join. Ate Hidilyn told me not to be afraid and focus on what I practiced,” said the 12-year-old Diaz, who is mentored by Hidilyn and her husband-coach Julius Naranjo.

Zamboanga City, where Hidilyn hails, flashed its dominance in the sport as Adrian Bucol lifted a personal best of 103kg (45kg snatch and 58kg clean and jerk) to clinch the mint in the boys’ U12 32kg category.

This edition of Batang Pinoy features 25 sports, including kickboxing and breaking, which are making their debut in the PSC’s premier grassroots sports program. –

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