BANTAY, Ilocos Sur — Jessel Lumapas competed in the secondary girls 100m run for the first time in her final year in the Palarong Pambansa.
She passed it with flying colors.
The 17-year-old Lumapas, a 400-m specialist, timed 11.99 seconds in the 100, just .09 shy of the current Palaro record of 11.90 set by then-controversial trackster Nancy Navalta in 1994.
Calabarzon consultant Fernando Dagasdas admitted Lumapas was inserted in the 100m race only because previous entrant Samantha Limos of Brent International School is competing in an international meet.
“Naipasok ko siya sa 100, sabi ko ‘Jessel, it’s time to shine.’ Even though hindi mo ito event, para makilala ka rin kasi may chance ka mag-MVP, pilitin mo sanayin sarili mo na mag-100 ka,” said Dagasdas.
Dagasdas said Lumapas, a three-time gold medalist in last year’s Palaro, responded well to the move to the century dash.
“Ang ginawa kong adjustment more on reaction drills para bumilis ‘yung liksi niya. Pati ‘yung body conditioning at ‘yung uphill para lalong lumakas. Ayaw pa kasi niya mag-weights kasi gusto pa niya tumangkad so sige ang power nakukuha sa explosiveness sa uphill,” said Dagasdas.
Lumapas actually started out slow but took over in the final 20 meters to win the gold in near-record time.
The Dasmarinas East Integrated National High School standout said she prefers having a slow start than being in first place all the way.
“Lagi po akong naghahabol. Ewan ko po. Natatakot ako. Kinakabahan ako. Mas lalo akong kinakabahan kasi baka kapusin,” said Lumapas.
This early, Lumapas, daughter of a security guard and a housewife, admitted she is getting offers from college teams, something that he looks forward to as she wants to finish college.
“Gusto ko po maging scholar para makapagtapos ako ng college,” said Lumapas, who wants to take up psychology in college.