DUMAGUETE - Aklan made its presence felt in swimming, while La Carlota City and Bago City shone in athletics at the start of the 2017 Batang Pinoy-Visayas in various venues around the city here Saturday.
Michael Gabriel Lozada and Kyla Soguilon captured two gold medals each, while Jennuel de Leon and Maria Reina Nazareta added one each in Aklan’s dominant showing at the Lorenzo G. Teves Memorial Aqua Center.
Lozada, a Grade 6 student of Infant Jesus Academy, topped the boys 13-15-year-old 200-meter individual medley in two minutes and 51.79 seconds and the boys 50-meter backstroke in 35:18 to put Aklan in the spotlight in this week-long competition organized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in cooperation with the Dumaguete City government, headed by Mayor Felipe Antonio “Ipe” Remollo.
Lozada won over Marcis Rivilla (2:54.58.3) of Ormoc and Busty Dwyne Jalandra ( 2:55.97) of Bacolod in the 200-meter IM and Allen Jeric Vizcarra (26.43) and Ren Dominic Deonaro (38.95) of Ormoc in the 50-m backstroke.
“Masaya po ako dahil nanalo kahit medyo nahirapan sauna,” said the 11-year-old Lozada, who is also best remembered for winning nine gold medals in the recent Milo LIttle Olympics.
Lozada, however, failed to duplicate or surpass his personal best time of 2:49.00. in the event. He is scheduled to compete in two more events -- 400-m IM at 200-m backstroke -- in the swimming competition supervised by former national swimmer Richard Luna.
Sharing the limelight for Aklan were Soguilon, who swept the 200-meter IM in 2:39.60) and the 50-meter backstroke in 33.58; and De Leon and Nazareta, who topped the topped the boys and grils 12-and-under 100-meter freestyle, respectively.
Soguilon,13, was the most outstanding swimmer in the 2017 Palarong Pambansa in San Jose, Antique last April.
Joining Lozaga and Soguilo as the meet’s double gold medalists is Chole Sophia Laurente of Ormoc City.
The 12-year-old campaigner from Ormoc ruled the girls 12-under 200-meter individual medley in 2:49.38 and 50-meter backstroke in 35:18.
Also making a splash was Martin Sayson of Negros Oriental, who won the gold in the boys 13-15 200 IM (2:26.20).
Over at the Gov. Mariano Paredes Memorial Stadium, John Christian Pamatian of Bago City timed 18:07.03 for the gold in the boys 3,000-meter run, and Marjorie Bermudes of La Carlota City recorded10.73 meters for the gold in the girls shot put.
PSC commissioner Charles Maxey, who represented PSC chairman Butch Ramirez, awarded the medals to the winners.
Ramirez earlier apologized to the hosts and athletes of the Batang Pinoy Visayas competitions for failing to attend the opening ceremonies last Friday.
“The chairman was also set to fly to Dumaguete early Friday but had to cancel his trip because he was called to Malacanang to discuss the rehabilitation efforts for Marawi, especially the refurbishing of its heavily-damaged sport facilities,” a PSC information officer explained.