No equipment? No problem for Bicol's 1st gold medalist at Palaro

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Boulders. Bamboos. Big dreams.

These are the things that student-athlete Daniella Camonoga held on to during tough training sessions. The 13-year-old uses bamboo or wood as an alternative to a javelin. A heavy rock is her substitute for shot put.

"Dinisiplina ko po talaga ang sarili ko kasi gusto ko talaga makakuha ng gold. May mas mataas na pangarap po kasi ako," said Camonoga.

(I disciplined myself because I really want to win gold. I have very big dreams.)

All worth it

Her discipline and patience paid off as Camonoga emerged victorious on the national stage, seizing the first-ever gold medal for the Bicol Region in the 2016 Palarong Pambansa on Monday, April 11. 

She bested 35 elementary female athletes from 17 other regions and made history for the host region after catapulting the shot put metal to the farthest end. 

Camonoga recorded 9.42 meters, followed by Emgiel Duran of Negros Island Region who clinched the silver medal with 9.15, and Cassandra Valerie Hunggo of Western Visayas who registered 9.01 to capture the bronze.

Rizan Jay Irang, the Bicol Region's athletics elementary girls coach, hailed his young ward's performance. 

"Tuwang-tuwa ako dahil si Daniella ang kauna-unahang nakakuha [ng gold]. Sana gayahin ito ng ibang team sa Bicol Region," Irang said.

(I'm very happy that Daniella won the region's first gold. I hope other teams from the Bicol Region will follow her lead.)

Irang, who is coaching in the annual competition for the first time, is confident his team will bring home more medals.

"Marami kaming potential athletes sa athletics. Yung iba sa kanila nag-Palarong Pambansa na dati," he added.

(We have plenty of potential athletes in athletics. Some of them have participated in previous editions of the Palarong Pambansa.)

Bigger dreams

Camonoga initially wanted to become a police officer. But when her Grade 5 teacher at the Doña Elena Mitri Garcia Elementary School in Guinobatan, Albay discovered her potential, she started to channel her passion towards sports.

Coming from an underprivileged family, she also has bigger dreams. Camonoga is the 13th among 16 children, and her brothers and sisters help motivate her to do her best.

"Gusto ko po someday na maabot ang aking pangarap para matulungan ko po ang aking mga kapatid," she said.

(I want to reach my dreams someday so I can help my siblings.) – Rappler.com

 

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