Veteran runner Martes bags first gold of Philippine National Games

ABS-CBN Sports on May 20, 2018 05:19 PM
Veteran runner Martes bags first gold of PNG
Cristabel Martes says she did it for her daughter. (Photo by Henry Vargas via Philippine Sports Commission)

CEBU CITY – Age is just a number for Cristabel Martes as she clinched the first gold medal in the 9th Philippine National Games Sunday at the Cebu City Sports Complex track oval.

Martes, the country’s marathon queen before a Cebuana named Mary Joy Tabal zoomed to prominence, dominated the senior women’s 10,000-meter run to capture her first gold medal and to fuel her hopes of making a grand return to the national team. 

Donning the colors of Baguio City, the 38-year old veteran from Benguet clocked 40 minutes and 11.5 seconds while Ruffa Sorongon of Cebu City and another bet from the summer capital of the Philippines in Sandi Abahan settled for the silver and bronze medal with 41:16.8 and 44:31.3, respectively.

Martes has a chance to collect a couple more mints as she competes in the senior women’s 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter runs in the next few days of this week-long conclave that serves as national tryouts for aspiring members of the national squad.

“I’m a single mother and this is for my daughter,” said Martes, whose record of 34:40.3 tallied in the National Open in Manila 17 years ago still remains unmatched, in Filipino.

“I thank God that I won despite pain in my calf that I sustained during interval training. And, of course, I’m no longer getting any younger so this win is truly remarkable.”

Martes will leave for Jeju Island in South Korea next Sunday for the 23rd Jeju International Tourism Marathon Festival 2018 at the Gujwa Life Sports Park.

From there, she would fly back to compete in the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (Patafa) National Open Athletics Championship in Ilagan City in Isabela from May 31 to June 4.

“At least this is a good start before I fly to Korea for a half-marathon tournament with Joy (Tabal) next Sunday.”

Also emerging with a gold medal despite a light morning drizzle were national team member Narcisa Atienza of Baguio City, Rogelio de Borja of Mandaluyong City and Ronette Ayuda of Cebu City.

Atienza, the former University of Santo Tomas star who has been with the national squad for more than a decade, clinched the gold medal after registering a heave of 12.25 meters in the senior women’s shot put event while de Borja reigned supreme in the senior men’s division with a heave of 12.49 meters.

Ayuda, for her part, ruled the senior women’s high jump event with 1.50 meters, leaving Kristie Kay Vinco of Cebu City and Lyka Casta settling for the silver and bronze medals, respectively, with an identical mark of 1.40 meters.

Over at nearby pool, Nicole Meah Pamintuan asserted her dominance as she clinched three gold medals for Sta. Rosa City in the swimming competition of this multi-sport tourney.

Pamintuan, the 18-year old former Palarong Pambansa standout, ruled the girls’ 200-meter individual medley, 100-meter freestyle and 50-meter backstroke to emerge as the most bemadalled athlete in the early stretch of this prestigious tourney.

She clocked 2:32.87 in the 200-meter individual medley before notching 1:02.12 in the 100-meter freestyle and 32.64 seconds in 50-meter backstroke.

“I want to come up with a strong performance because I really want to play in the Asian Games. If I won’t qualify in the individual events, at least I’ hoping to make it to the relay team,” said Pamintuan, who also won five gold medals in the National Age Group Swimming Championship recently.

Meanwhile, David Dela Rosa of Las Pinas City tallied 2:23.60 to rule the boys’ 200-meter individual medley and 28.79 seconds to reign supreme in the 50-meter backstroke; Camilo La Torre of General City clocked 57.87 seconds to dominate boys’ 100-meter freestyle and 18:21.03 to win the boys’ 1,500-meter freestyle; and Kelsey Jaudian of General Santos City notched 10:26.07 to rule the girls’ 800-meter freestyle.

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