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Palaro 2023: Athletics dominance push Region 6 to lead after Day 4


MANILA, August 4 ------ The tally board continues to swirl around as Western Visayas snatched the overall lead in the 2023 Palarong Pambansa after four days of competition – thanks to their athletics team.


The Region VI track and field team harvested half of the gold medal at stakes in the sport on Thursday, including a new record in the discus throw and sweeping the 200-meter run events, to improve their medal haul to 33-23-18 gold-silver-bronze to lead the national competition in Marikina City. John Mark Pagdato clocked in 24.70 seconds in the elementary boys 200m run to win the gold while his counterpart Ma. Jerlyn Ariego also secured the top medal after a 27.80-second performance in the elementary girls.


In the secondary 200m dash, Mico Villaran and Krisha Aguillon completed the Western Visayas sweep of the event as they claimed the respective gold medals in the girls and boys division. Aguillon can also call herself as the Palaro 2023 sprint queen as she also nabbed the gold in the 100-meter dash early this week. She crossed the finish line at 26.00 in the 200m. Villaran, on the other hand, needed to wait for the verification of the results since he and Region1’s Ranier Jay Rangers both battled for gold in a photo finish. In the end, Villaran emerged victorious at 22.86 seconds.


Earlier that day, Airex Gabriel Villanueva flexed his muscles in the secondary boys discus throw after erasing the record set in 2018. Villanueva reached 42.83 meters in the Philsports Arena in Pasig City to beat the 2018 record set by Ed Deliña of Central Luzon (42.67 meters). “Masaya kasi unexpected, e. Thankful ako sa mga taong naniwala sa akin. Proud ako sa sarili ko. 'Yung mga record ko ngayon, 'di ko pa nakuha sa mga dating laro ko kaya nakakagulat din,” Villanueva shared.


This was Villanueva’s second gold in this year’s game after also lording the shot put event on Wednesday. The Western Visayas team also got a boost in the pool competition as Jennuel Booh de Leon pocketed two gold medals in swimming, highlighted by a record-breaking performance in the 50m backstroke secondary boys. De Leon touched the wall in just 26.78 seconds to shatter the old record set in 2019 by John Neil Paderes of Calabarzon. “I feel so proud of it po. I feel so good din po kasi first time ko lang po maka-break ng record lalo na this year,” De Leon told reporters.


It came as a surprise for De Leon as he wasn’t able to reach the 26-second mark in all his training before the competition, he admitted. He later on took another gold, this time in the 100m freestyle secondary boys after timing in 53.68 seconds. Meanwhile, two more records were established in aquatics as Quendy Fernandez of Palawan booked the gold in the 50m backstroke secondary girls at 30.67 seconds. Fernandez broke the 2019 record of Samantha Therese Coronel of NCR. In the men’s 4x100 relay secondary, NCR’s Ivo Nikolai Enot, Jalil Taguinod, Ivan Radovan, and Hugh Antonio Parto pulled their acts together to build a new record with the time of 4:00.75. They reset the six-year-old Palaro record also set by the Big City in the 2017 edition (4:01.16).


In archery, Naina Dominique Tagle continued her dominance in the secondary girls as she amassed a record-setting 327 points in the 60-meter event, en route to winning the gold. It was also Tagle’s fourth gold in the 2023 Games. The defending champions NCR climbed to second spot after falling to third place on Wednesday as they raised their medal haul to 24 golds, 27 silvers, and 23 bronzes. The Region 4-A Calabarzon, however, slid from top spot to third place as they only added two gold medals on Thursday for a 22-30-23 medal tally. Rounding up the top 5 regions were Davao Region with 13 gold medals already while Central Luzon has 11 top podium finishes, so far.


Source: news.abs-cbn.com

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