When Davao del Norte hosted the 58th Palarong Pambansa in 2015, record-breaking feats were showcased by a new breed of student athletes in the swimming and athletics category.
Can we expect more records to fall in this year’s staging of the Palaro in Albay?
Last year, Luzon’s best bets from Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog and the National Capital Region towed the rest of the regions and mightily showed the way. Central Luzon's Balitucan National High School alumnus, Martin James Esteban shattered the 14.44m triple jump record of Mark Harry Diones with his 15.01 meter-jump.
Likewise, NCR athletes dominated the swimming pool with their speed and determination. Swimming sensation, Maurice Sacho Ilustre mined gold in a record-breaking fashion with his performance in the200m (2:07.28 min), and 100m (57.56 s) Butterfly; 800m (8:50.34 min), and 200m (1:58.83 min) Freestyle, respectively.
Team mates Christian Sy, Andrae Pogiongko, and Drew Magbagalso shone in the 400m Medley (4:07 min) and so did Alnair Guevarra, Eman Dapat, Miguel Barlisanin the 400m Freestyle (3:41.38 min) relays. The group of Ilustre shattered the 2009 and 2014 Palaro swim records.
Long-standing records in the 50m Freestyle, 50m Backstroke and 100m Breaststroke divisions were smashed by elementary athletes Jules Katherine Ong’s 28.75, Seth Isaak Martin’s 30.16 and Ethan Go’s 1:14.86, respectively.
Also, the 100m Butterfly best time on record was surpassed by Camille Buico, who broke by a second the 2013 record of 1:06.92 in the elementary category, .while Regina Maria Castrillo outdid her own 2014 record with a time of 1:04.41 in the secondary category.
The Visayan Islands athletes won’t be outclassed as they excelled through its champions from the Western and Eastern regions. Alexis Soqueño from the Western Visayas once again defied gravity as he shattered his former record of 1.92m in the High Jump category, making 1.95m the height to beat. Meanwhile, the team of Karen Janario, Feiza Jane Lenton, Gemmalyn Pino and Lealyn Sanita, set the new time record of 4:00.09 in the 4x400m relay.
Mindanao’s victors came via Efrelyn Democer and Jie Ann Calis who broke records in their respective fields. Democer’s score of 42.34m in the Javelin Throw crushed the 41.27m record established by Stephanie Cimatu in 2011.
On the other hand, Calis’ speed outran the records in the 3000m (10:10.16 min), 1500m (4:42.20 min) and 800m (2:12.27 min) event. Her neck-and-neck race with 2013 record-setter Angelica De Josef in the 800m event was dubbed as one of the best performances ever in Palaro history.
With preparations nearing its completion for the 2016 Palarong Pambansa, the Department of Education (DepEd) hopes that the athletes will see last year’s achievements as a goal to surpass. And that the name of every worthy athlete will be etched in sports history.