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Sports

Buenavista bags 1st gold in RP Open

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LINGAYEN, Philippines – Eduardo Buenavista bested younger local rivals and a host of foreign runners to capture the first gold medal in the Milo-National Open Track and Field Invitational Championship with a victory in the 5000-m run at the Don Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center here yesterday.

Buenavista, 30, thwarted Julius Sermona’s challenge at the finish to rule the race in 14:37.3. Sermona, 23, settled for silver in 14:37.6 while Mendel Lopez of Navy took the bronze in 15:21.6.

“I made the charge early but still managed to nip Julius in the last 500 meters,” said Buenavista.

Precious de Leon of UP ruled the girls discus throw with a 29.14-m effort, beating Eszarani Sebad of Brunei (28.29) and Jessa Mae Fernandez of Tangub City (27.66).

Mervin Guarte of Calapan topped the boys 5000m run in 15:34.6, while Cristopher Ulboc of FEU (15:37.6) and Ferdinand Corpuz (16:02.6) took the silver and bronze medals, respectively.

Flordeliza Donos reigned in women’s 3000m run in 11:09.17 with Mary Ann Dela Cruz (11:25.97) and Russel Rollano (11:27.08) taking the silver and bronze medals.

Riezel Buenaventura topped the women’s pole vault (3.62), winning over Bettina Maclang (2.60) and Jam Valenton (2:56) while Korean Myong-Ja Yoon became the first foreign bet to bag a gold after beating Tran Hue Hoa in the women’s high jump (1.73 meters), three inches better than the Vietnamese bet.

In the opening rites, Gov. Amado Espino Jr. exhorted athletes to strive for excellence and emulate boxing champ Manny Pacquiao, whom he referred to as a model of excellence among Filipino athletes and adored worldwide.

Espino said sports serves as great equalizer as it removes the barrier between the rich and the poor and there is a total leverage and chances of winning.

“Indeed, sport is an effective instrument in building bridges of friendship and camaraderie with our countrymen, from other regions, and from our brothers in other nations,” he said.

Dagupan City Mayor and Patafa chair Alipio Fernandez Jr. also thanked the participants, especially the foreign athletes for competing in the three-day event.

“It is also in this spirit that as a centerpiece of sports, this hosting fosters not only sports fellowship, increases the level of competition, but very importantly the development of sports, the formation of athletes’ character and discipline as they compete carrying the banner of their countries and institutions,” he said.

More than six hundred elite stars are competing in the event, which drew participants from Brunei, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Malaysia (Kota Kinabalu), Singapore, Vietnam, and Malaysia (Sandakan). – With report from Eva Visperas

ALIPIO FERNANDEZ JR.

AMADO ESPINO JR.

BETTINA MACLANG

BUENAVISTA

CHINESE TAIPEI

CRISTOPHER ULBOC

DAGUPAN CITY MAYOR AND PATAFA

DON NARCISO RAMOS SPORTS AND CIVIC CENTER

ESZARANI SEBAD OF BRUNEI

EVA VISPERAS

FERDINAND CORPUZ

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