Central Visayas athlete bags unexpected gold

TAGUM CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Shanelle Demilys Siasoyco got more than what she fervently prayed for when she handed Central Visayas its first gold medal in the 2015 Palarong Pambansa – the largest grassroots sporting event in the Philippines.

Siasoyco of the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC) had her best throw on her third try (10.35 meters) and topped the Secondary Shot Put competiton held at the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex.

The silver medalist wasn’t far behind, throwing a 10.19 meters.

Her performance did not only prevent Central Visayas from getting shutout of gilts on the first day of competition but she was also able to bag her first gold ever in the meet.

The 15-year-old student said despite being on her third national meet campaign, she did not expect to clinch gold because her opponents in the national tourney are tougher. She admitted to feeling the pressure.

“I just aimed to improve my personal best. I prayed for guidance that I would be able to do that,” Siasoyco said.

Siasoyco also clinched the first gold medal during the Central Visayas regional meet as she represented Team Mandaue. That time, she also improved her previous silver performance.

Asked how she feels about the two achievements, Siasoyco said it was “overwhelming because I was not really expecting it.” She is also very grateful for the unexpected blessing.

“I wasn’t really expecting to win, cause I just really wanna beat my personal best, which I think is everybody’s aim here,” Siasoyco said. “Winning is a prize for all your effort, so this is just, kung baga, the fruits of my labor.”

Previously a football player, Siasoyco tried her hand in athletics upon the prodding of SHS-AdC athletics coach Presing Capangpangan. She joined her first athletics competition when she was in sixth grade and from then on, was “hooked” with the sport and shifted permanently.

“My coach is a PE teacher and he saw potential so he told me to try joining training and I got hooked,” said Siasoyco. “I like it because it’s a great sport for me.”

Like most athletes, the Region 7 standout uses her sport as an outlet for personal concerns and worries. Her motivation to spend more time honing her craft, thought it might seem unconventional, has helped her garner multiple tournament victories.

“It gives me a different way to release stress,” she said about shot pul.

“Beause the ball is heavy eh, so if you throw it, you can imagine that, for example, you don’t like somebody,” she laughed, “and you’re targeting that person. So that’s how I feel. But most of the time, I just do it because I really like playing it.”

“I got nervous because a part from this being a national event, everybody’s good,” the gold medalist discussed her nerves prior to winning gold.

“I mean, you can’t get into Palaro if you’re not good, so it was very intimidating to look at other people train in front of you. You’re thinking, ‘Woah, these are the people I’m going to be playing against.’”

Fortunately for her, she was the one standing at the highest point of the winners’ platform for the Secondary Shot Pul event. Siasoyco loves the sport, but understand that her studies come first, as she hopes to enroll in Ateneo de Manila University one day.

“I was thinking of [majoring in] Psychology. Something like that. But, I don’t know, it depends.”

What she does know is the effect performing in athletics can have for an athlete, and she suggests others do the same, particularly to try track and field.

Siasoyco said, “If you want a way to really release stress and find really great people in the competition, you should join track and field.”

“Track and field itself kasi is really nice. If you’re not really good at team games, track and field is the best way to go. You exercise teamwork, but somewhat individual cause you’re in one team, but you have different events to go to.”

Track and field, which includes the shot put contest, javelin throw, and others, also has the ability to build camaraderie between teammates, according to the winner.

“Even if we’re that far away from each other, we connect to each other in a way. And you get to meet a lot of people, really good people when you join track and field.”

Siasoyco , who’s also prevailed in the 2014 Milo Little Olympics and Batang Pinoy tournaments, is the only child among two other siblings who inherited her parents love for sports.

She said she would continue to do her best to once again be selected for the regional and national meets.

Although, Siasoyco failed to duplicate her gold performance in discus throw, which is her other event in this one week multi-sporting event, she does not feel bad because she already had her unexpected gold. – with reports from Naveen Ganglani/Rappler.com