LONG distance runner Anton Bautista and long jumper Ailyn Tumbale ruled their respective events to become the meet's first gold medalists even as Bacolod and Negros Occidental captured nine golds each in swimming at the start of the Philippine Olympic Committee-Philippine Sports Commission Batang Pinoy 2012 Visayas leg at the Leyte Sports Development Center on Wednesday in Tacloban City.
The 14-year-old Bautista of Aklan, a high school sophomore at Numancia Integrated School, maintained his pace as his competitors faltered one after another to take the boys 15-under 5,000-meter run with a time of 18 minutes and 42.7 seconds. Fifteen-year-old teammate Jeolly Gil Saba was at his tail every step of the way to finish second 18:54.0.
Bautista hurt his heel when an opponent accidentally hit him with his spikes in the eighth lap, but the provincial champion decided to soldier on.
“It's okay because he said sorry afterward,” said Bautista in Filipino.
Just after Bautista crossed the finish line, 13-year-old Tumbale of Negros Occidental picked the gold medal in girls 13-under long jump with a 4.65-meter leap.
The lanky, 5-foot-7 Tumbale, who is already a Palarong Pambansa champion, used her long limbs and timing in beating Bacolod's Ericka Kee who mustered 4.46m.
“I'm confident that I can win the event because I'm taller than them,” said Tumbale, a 7th grader who is hoping to get her second gold when she competes in triple jump on Thursday.
In swimming, Bacolod put on a dominating show anchored on sisters Kyla Isabel and Vanessa Gayle Mabus of University of St. La Salle.
Fifteen-year-old Kyla Isabel produced four golds after topping the girls 14-15 400m freestyle, 200m butterfly, 200m free and leading the Bacolod girls to victory in the girls 15-under 200m freestyle relay with Vanessa Gayle, Remselle Limaco and Gwen Joy Del Carmen.
Vanessa Gayle also won girls 11-12 200m free. Limaco, 15, won gold medals in the girls 13-15 100m free and 200m backstroke aside from the relay victory.
Also coming up with individual golden performances for Bacolod were Del Carmen in the 12-under 100m freestyle, and Julie Mary Occeno in girls 13-15 50m butterfly.
Negros Occidental matched Bacolod's output with its own golden boy in 12-year-old Dustin Marco Ong, who scored wins in boys 11-12 years old 50- and 200m fly and the 200- and 400m freestyle.
Also starring for Negros Occidental were Alfred Valentin Rojo in boys 13-15 400m freestyle, Lorenzo Xavier Abello in boys 13-15 50m and 200m breaststroke, Kyla Patrice Kho in girls 13-15 50m breaststroke and Merced Divina Rojo in girls 11-12 200m breaststroke.