GOLDEN BOYS

First-timers Joshua Raphael del Rio and Fritz Jun Ro­driguez of Davao City clinch swim­ming gold medals for Team Min­danao-Philip­pines in 10th BIMPNT-Eaga Friend­ship Games

Sun.Star Davao - - TOP SPORTS - BY MAR­I­ANNE S. ABALAYAN / Edi­tor

Brunei - Davao City tankers Joshua Raphael del Rio and Fritz Jun Ro­driguez made waves in their 10th BIMPNT-Eaga Friend­ship Games de­but, an­nex­ing two gold medals for Team Min­danao-Philip­pines at the start of the swim­ming com­pe­ti­tion at the Has­sanal Bolkiah Na­tional Sports Com­plex here as of 12 p.m. yes­ter­day.

Davao City head of del­e­ga­tion Mikey Apor­tadera, who cheered for the Dabawenyo swim­mers along with Philip­pine Sports Com­mis­sion (PSC) Com­mis­sioner Charles Ray­mond A. Maxey lauded them for their ef­forts.

“I am al­ways proud of Davao City and Min­danao ath­letes. It’s not about the size since oth­ers were taller and big­ger than them. But even be­fore leav­ing the city I al­ready told them to play with their hearts and that’s what we have seen here,” the Sports De­vel­op­ment Divi­sion of the City Mayor’s Of­fice (SDD-CMO) of­fi­cer-in-charge said.

Com­mis­sioner Maxey, for his part, thanked the swim­mers for rep­re­sent­ing the coun­try. He also en­cour­aged those who failed to win medals to “never lose hope” as they are still young and they can al­ways bounce back.

Del Rio, 15, a Grade 9 stu­dent of Ate­neo de Davao Univer­sity, raised his arms in vic­tory af­ter check­ing in at two min­utes and 3.95 sec­onds in men’s 200-me­ter freestyle fi­nals. He raced past fel­low Dabawenyo Eir­ron Seth Vibar who sal­vaged the silver and Brunei Team A’s Nur Haziq Samil who set­tled for bronze.

Vibar fin­ished in 2:04.00 while Samil came next with 2:05.93 in the 21-un­der event.

Del Rio, who was urged by her mother to take swim­ming dur­ing preschool since he has a was di­ag­nosed with asthma, still could not be­lieve his feat. “It’s my first in­ter­na­tional games and I got the coun­try’s first gold. I re­ally did not ex­pect this. I just wanted to win the gold and de­ter­mined to win the gold de­spite know­ing that an Aus­tralian team is also com­pet­ing,” he said in an in­ter­view with Sun­Star Davao af­ter his race.

He trained six days a week un­der Ate­neo coach Sam Al­cos for the tour­na­ment - one hour in the morn­ing be­fore his classes and two hours in the af­ter­noon af­ter his classes.

He thanked God for the win and his mother Elaine, a man­ager of the Philip­pine Na­tional Bank in Davao, for sup­port­ing him all th­ese years. Del Rio will still see ac­tion in two more in­di­vid­ual events.

Ro­driguez, mean­while, ruled the men’s 50m breas­troke by clock­ing 31.22 sec­onds. Dar­ren Ngui Moh Gin of Sarawak Malaysa (31.86) ended up with the silver while Dabawenyo Ed­ward Al­faro III of Min­danao-PH (31.98) took the bronze.

The 17-year-old Ro­driguez, a Grade 12 ABM stu- dent of San Beda Univer­sity, shared, “Makaover­whelm kasi first swim event ko, di ko in­ex­pect na mag gold ako. May malakas din akong katabi kan­ina from Malaysia po ata. First time ko ring sumali sa Eaga Games.”

Ro­driguez, the youngest among four chil­dren of Jun, a swim­ming coach, and Dioscora, a house­wife, ded­i­cated his win to his mother. “Para sa nanay ko po ang pana­long ito kasi sya nag­push sa ak­ing pag­bu­ti­hin ko sa train­ing at kay Kuya Carlo ko po sya yung nag-alaga sa akin since bata pa ako.”

He was born in the Is­land Gar­den City of Samal. He later stud­ied at the Davao City Na­tional High School be­fore he moved to the Univer­sity of Min­danao on his 11th grade. He com­peted un­der Davao City and Davao Re­gion in the Palarong Pam­bansa for six years and ac­counted for one silver and three bronzes.

Min­danao-PH’s swim­ming team also got a silver cour­tesy of Davao City’s Ivo Niko­lai Enot and a bronze from El­son Jake Ro­driguez in men’s 100m back­stroke.

Sabah, Malaysia led the swim­fest so far with three golds, two sil­vers and three bronzes fol­lowed by North­ern Ter­ri­tory (2-3-0) in sec­ond, Min­danao-PH (2-2-2) third, South Su­lawesi (1-0-1) fourth and Sarawak (0-1-1) fifth.

MAR­I­ANNE L. SABERON-ABALAYAN

WIN­NING SMILE. 10th BIMPNT-Eaga Friend­ship Games 2018 men’s 200-me­ter freestyle medal­ists from left, Eir­ron Seth Vibar (silver) and Joshua Raphael del Rio (gold) of Team Min­danao-Philip­pines and Brunei’s Nur Haziq Samil (bronze) are all smiles dur­ing the award­ing cer­e­mony at the Has­sanal Bolkiah Na­tional Sports Com­plex in Ban­dar Seri Be­gawan, Brunei yes­ter­day morn­ing.

SKIPPY LUMAWAG/SDD-CMO

RACE FOR GOLD. Davao City’s Fritz Jun Ro­driguez races to clinch the men’s 50-me­ter breas­troke gold medal for Min­danao-Philip­pines in the 10th BIMPNT-Eaga Friend­ship Games 2018 at the Has­sanal Bolkiah Na­tional Sports Com­plex in Ban­dar Seri Be­gawan, Brunei yes­ter­day morn­ing.

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