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Cabalida leads Batang Pinoy impressive new weightlifters

ILOCOS SUR — In a sport where the country has high hopes of winning its next Olympic gold medal, Hannah Shene Cabalida of Cebu City served notice of her intention of reaching for the stars with a worthy performance in weightlifting of the Philippine Sports Commission’s Batang Pinoy at the Caoayan Gym here.

Ms. Cabalida was nothing less than impressive as she lifted a barbell heavier than her 30-kilogram frame — 34kg in snatch and 40kg in clean and jerk for a 74kg total — in claiming the gold.

And that mint could serve as a springboard to launching the nine-year-old third-grader’s quest to emulate Olympian Elreen Ando, a Cebu native herself, and Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo, who delivered the country’s historic Olympic gold in last year’s Tokyo Games.

And Ms. Cabalida wasn’t alone as Elaine Jane Calunsag, an 11-year-old from Bayawan, Negros Oriental, likewise set in motion her own ambitious bid by topping the girls’ 26kg class with a 55kg total — 20kg in snatch and 35kg in clean and jerk.

Also coming through with worthy performances were Lucena’s Kristian Yugo Cabana and La Union’s Kyla Louise Bulaga, who joined Rizal’s Aubrey Tom as the games’ first double-gold winners at the Quirino Stadium pool center and Mauritanya Krog, who emerged as one of the first four cycling winners in the criterium races that unfurled and concluded in front of the Provincial Capitol.

Mr. Cabana clocked 1:5.40 in capturing his second mint in the boys’ 100-meter butterfly to add to his 200m individual medley he topped the day before while Ms. Bulaga topped the girls’ 100m fly in 1:12.70 that came a day after she ruled the 200m IM.

They joined Aubrey Tom of Cainta, who reigned supreme in 100m free and 200m IM the day before, in the elite cast of double-gold medalists.

Ms. Krog, who belonged to a family of cyclists that included elder siblings and former national team members Rex and Mathilda, stole some of the limelight and ruled the 13-and-under girls’ criterium in 37:43.519 ahead of Iloilo’s Maria Louise Alejado (39:12.067) and Calapan’s Jhanah Abella (39:16.426).

“My dream is to become a national team member and to compete abroad,” said Ms. Krog after her biggest race triumph to date.

Also striking gold in cycling were Emmanuel Arago of Batangas City, Jacqueline Joy de Guzman of Quezon City and Chris Andreu Ferrer of Cebu City.

In girls’ long jump also at the Quirino Stadium, Sophia Angela Mae dela Vega of San Jose City delivered the first golden feat in centerpiece athletics after she reigned supreme with a leap of 4.77 meters.

Ms. Dela Vega bested a field of 37 jumpers including Jesalyn Materdan of Masbate and Angelica Jane Balason of Quezon City, who copped the silver and bronze medal with 4.52m and 4.37m, respectively.

In the afternoon races, Rizal’s Aubrey Tom emerged the event’s first triple-gold medalist after she conquered the girls’ 400m individual medley that came on the heels of her 200m IM and 100m freestyle triumphs the day before. — Joey Villar

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