VIGAN, Ilocos Sur — Years ago, Kasandra Hazel Alcantara abandoned her athletic career, preferring to do what a normal teenager do.
On Tuesday, Alcantara became a Palarong Pambansa record holder when she captured the gold in the secondary girls shotput in athletics at the University of Northern Philippines grounds here.
The University of the East standout, however, said the road to victory was not easy, admitting that she had her share of struggles as an athlete.
Formerly a marathoner, Alcantara gained weight when she entered Grade 6. Her coach decided that she move to throwing events where he believed she will excel.
“Nung Grade 6, tumaba ako, tinry ng coach ko nung elementary na mag-throwing. Nanalo po ako sa Pangasinan,” said Alcantara.
However, Alcantara said she stopped her athletic career when she entered high school because of her friends.
“Nagka-struggles ako. Nahinto, na-barkada. Mas masaya ako kapag kasama ko mga barkada ko. Pasyal-pasyal,” Alcantara said.
Alcantara remained an athlete at heart and decided to return to the sport on her third year in high school.
She never missed a beat.
After winning gold in Antique with a throw of 11.16 meters, .04 behind the Palaro record, Alcantara registered 11.88 meters in the final, shattering a 26-year Palaro record in shotput while beating Jamela De Asis of Western Visayas (11.29) and Mary Jean Maloloy-on of Bicol Region (10.61).
It was a fitting end to his high school career as she broke the previous record of 11.20 set by Marites Barrios in 1992.
”Halo-halo na po,” said Alcantara when asked what she felt about breaking the record. "Goal po ng coach ko na mag-break ng record.”
She will still compete in the discus throw where Alcantara is aiming for her second gold.