July 19, 2018, 5:51 am
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Barefoot runner wins first gold in Palaro

BANTAY, Ilocos Sur. — A 13-year-old barefoot runner from Bicol topped the secondary girls’ 3,000-meter run in the 61st Palarong Pambansa here on Monday, beating older competitors in her third attempt at the gold.

Lheslie de Lima, who claimed to be a distant relative of Sen. Leila de Lima, finished the race in 10 minutes and 6.54 seconds at the President Elpidio Quirino Stadium, clinching the first of 397 gold medals at stake in the games here.

Her time was a fraction of a second better than silver medalists.

Camila Tubiano of Northern Mindanao finished second in 10:07.07 while Grace Tejones of Western Visayas was third in 10:52.99.

De Lima dedicated her win to her father, a rice farmer, and mother, a housewife.

“This is for them,” said De Lima, an incoming Grade 8 student at the Baao National High School who has six other siblings.

She dreams of becoming a teacher and a mentor to the next generation of athletes in her hometown.

De Lima, who won four silver medals in her previous tries in the Palaro as an elementary student, is also competing in her pet event, the 1,500-meter run on Thursday, and the 800-m run the following day.

In secondary boys’ long jump, Algin Gomez of Cagayan Valley had a leap of 6.96 meters for the gold medal over Mimaropa’s James Meim (6.88m) and Soccsksargen’s Lowell Batobalani (6.78m).

Christian Ompong of the National Capital Region dominated secondary boys’ javelin throw with a heave of 58.51m. The silver went to Mimaropa’s John Paul Sarmiento (53.87m) while Jhon Dave Tumulak of Soccsksargen salvaged the bronze in 53.66m.

Adrian Samudio delivered the second gold for the Big City bets with a winning mark of 11.46m in the triple jump.
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