Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — A 17-year-old high jumper from San Vicente, Palawan gave the Philippines its first gold medal in the 2018 ASEAN Schools Games, bagging the high jump girls event held Saturday afternoon at the Mini Stadium in Bukit Jalil here.
Evangelene Caminong cleared 1.74 meters, eclipsing her personal record of 1.71 meters to beat Thailand’s Prangthip Chitkhokkruad’s 1.72m and her teammate Alexie Mae Caimoso’s 1.69m. Chitkhokkruad and Caimoso settled for the silver and bronze, respectively.
Caminong, in an interview at the sidelines before the awarding ceremony, said she couldn’t believe that she did it.
“Hindi po ako makapaniwala. Sobrang saya ko po (I’m still in awe. I’m really happy),” Caminong said.
Caminong salvaged the silver in the same event during the 2018 Palarong Pambansa in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, finishing behind Caimoso who topped the secondary girls’ event.
Competing as a first timer in ASEAN Schools Games, Caminong didn’t expect much but said she was just happy to represent the country in the meet.
“At first, I wasn’t pressured to win. But I don’t know as the competition came I felt it was my obligation to do my best,” she said.
Caminong, a grade 12 student of Nazareth School of National University, said she underwent training following the Palaro meet in PhilSports in Pasig City, supervised by coach Fernando Dagasdas.
“I hope this win serves an inspiration to my fellow Pinoy athletes to strive their best in their games,” said the middle child of three siblings of Lorraine and Ivanhoe.
She added that making it this far for her would not be possible without the support of Cong. Jenny Barzaga and Dasmarinas City Mayor Elpidio Barsaga.
The battle for her is not yet over as she attempts to claim her second gold medal in 100m hurdles which will be played on July 24.
Education Undersecretary Tonisito Umali personally awarded the gold medal and the Juara stuff toy during the awarding ceremony.
Trackster Riza Mae Valiente also salvaged the silver medal in the 400m girls’ event after checking in at 61.51 seconds, placing behind gold medalist Bui Thi Trang of Vietnam. Thailand’s Arisa Weruwanarak (63.13) finished third.
A Mindanaoan runner, Camila Tubiano, also captured the bronze medal in the 3,000-meter track and field event when she clocked 10 minutes and 49.30 seconds. She fell behind Luu Thi Thu of Vietnam (10:18.09) and Lwee Zar of Myanmar (10:47.25) for the gold and silver medals, respectively.