A STAR LEAPS PAST HIS HUR­DLES

Sun.Star Cebu - - FRONT PAGE - RICHIEL S. CHAVEZ / Reporter @rschavez

12-year-old Niño Vin­cent Solis wins 5 medals in Milo de­spite prac­tic­ing with ‘im­pro­vised hur­dles’

The 110-hur­dles is an in­di­vid­ual event but track star Niño Vin­cent Co­lis of Basak Com­mu­nity School needed the help of two team­mates just to train.

The rea­son? The school lacks ath­let­ics equip­ment—specif­i­cally the hur­dles—so he asked two team­mates to hold a length of bam­boo at hur­dle height so he can prac­tice.

Their ded­i­ca­tion to their five­day weekly train­ing and the sup­port of the com­mu­nity paid off big time, as the 12-year-old won four gold medals and one sil­ver in the 22nd Milo Little Olympics (MLO-Visayas Leg) at the Cebu City Sports Cen­ter (CCSC).

“I did it to for my school. I want my school to be known. This is also for my coach, my par­ents, and the par­ents of my team­mates” said Co­lis, who cap­tured the gold medal in the el­e­men­tary boys’ cen­tury dash in 13.40 sec­onds.

Co­lis snagged gold medals in the 110-me­ter hur­dles in 20.24 and 400m hur­dles in 1:11.88. Co­lis also pow­ered his team­mates to a gold medal in the 4x100m re­lay in 56.94 and a sil­ver medal in the 4x400m re­lay in 4:56.93.

Math teacher Justin Pilario, who serves as the ath­letic coach for Basak Com­mu­nity School, said Co­lis only gets to prac­tice with a stan­dard hur­dle when they go to the CCSC ev­ery Satur­day.

“We have to im­pro­vise for us to con­tinue with our pro­gram,” said Pilario. “Some of our ath­letes don’t even have spike shoes. They train bare­foot. The oth­ers are us­ing sec­ond-hand spike shoes.”

The team had to be re­source­ful and used the school stairs for train­ing, run­ning from the ground floor to fourth floor.

“There’s a ‘no collection poli- cy’ so we had to find other ways. Thank­fully, the par­ents are com­mit­ted to con­tinue,” said Co­lis, who tells kids that this skill could land them a schol­ar­ship when they go to high school.

The team’s ace ath­lete, Co­lis, started run­ning only a year ago, and has al­ready en­coun­tered quite a chal­lenge early in his ca­reer.

Nine months ago, Co­lis was left frus­trated at the Cebu City Olympics af­ter he stum­bled and in­jured his left hand while com­pet­ing in the 4x400 re­lay.

“I vowed to my­self that I will bounce back stronger,” said Co­lis, who idol­izes 29th South­east Asian (Sea) Games 400m hur­dles gold medal­ist and 100m dash sil­ver medal­ist Eric Shauwn Cray.

Co­lis did just that on his re­turn to the track. Aside from win­ning five medals, he also bagged the cov­eted Most Out­stand­ing Ath­lete (MOA) award for el­e­men­tary boys’ ath­let­ics.

Co­lis also im­proved on his sil­ver medal fin­ish in 100m hur­dles and 4x400m re­lay in his ath­letic de­but at the MLO-Visayas Leg 11 months ago.

Be­fore the start of the event, Milo Sports Ex­ec­u­tive Lester Castillo en­cour­aged the up-and­com­ing ath­letes to stand up af­ter ev­ery fail­ure and use it as a mo­ti­va­tion to suc­ceed.

“Let’s draw in­spi­ra­tion from the ex­pe­ri­ence of de­feat to as­sess on how we can im­prove. Cham­pi­ons never give up,” he said dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony at the CCSC.

For the track star named af­ter the Child Je­sus, prayers also played a fac­tor.

“I never imag­ined win­ning four gold medals. I just en­trusted ev­ery­thing to God. I gave my best and let him do the rest,” he said.

Pilario said it was the first time in more than 10 years that his ath­lete had more than three gold medals and this year, the school racked seven golds, three sil­vers and a bronze this year.

De­spite the suc­cess, Co­lis said he will take one step at a time and is hop­ing he will get closer to his dream when he com­petes in the Cebu City Olympics.

“My big­gest dream is to make it to Cvi­raa and if I get lucky, to the Palarong Pam­bansa. I will work ex­tra hard to get there,” said Co­lis, who will start his bid in the District Meet and Unit Meet in Septem­ber.

Nil­boy Co­lis, the fa­ther of Niño Vin­cent, said he al­most let his son stop track af­ter his in­jury in the Cebu City Olympics.

“I got ner­vous when he was in­jured, I wanted him to stop. But I saw the ded­i­ca­tion of my son, so I let him con­tinue. I’m giv­ing my full sup­port to him and I’m very happy that he fi­nally got the gold medal,” he said.

We have to im­pro­vise for us to con­tinue with our pro­gram. Some of our ath­letes don’t even have spike shoes. They train bare­foot. The oth­ers are us­ing sec­ond­hand spike shoes. JUSTIN PILARIO, math teacher and ath­let­ics coach of Basak Com­mu­nity School

SUN­STAR FOTO / ALEX BADAYOS

CHAM­PION. Twelve-yearold Niño Vin­cent Co­lis was named the Most Out­stand­ing Ath­lete for ath­let­ics in his sec­ond stint in the Milo Little Olympics

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