LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – What do former Palarong Pambansa elementary boys javelin throw record holder Jonah Robles and new record holder Jerick Mendoza have in common?
The success of both athletes can be credited to one man: Calabarzon athletics trainer Renato Telada, who was the coach when Robles set the old mark of 51.88 meters in the 1998 Centennial Palaro at Pana-ad Stadium in Bacolod City.
At daybreak on Tuesday, April 12, Robles' 18-year record was broken by Mendoza, who successfully hurled the spear 6 meters more than his predecessor, setting a new mark of 57.50 meters during the javelin throw event at the Bicol University-Albay Sports and Tourism Complex track oval in this city.
All 3 topnotchers in the event broke the previous standard, with Mendoza’s Calabarzon teammate Jan Mervin Francisco throwing 54.15 meters for the silver and Bicol Region’s Melvin Lacson throwing 51.92 meters to bag the bronze.
Just like Robles, the 13-year-old Mendoza hails from the coastal town of Mulanay overlooking Tayabas Bay in Quezon.
Rhona Saronicman, Mendoza’s coach, is proud to be a “Telada apprentice,” saying that she relied on her mentor’s training regimen to prepare her athlete for this meet.
“I learned a lot from Sir Robert, not only in training but in instilling discipline in our school athletes,” the athletic coordinator of the Mulanay Central Elementary School said.
Telada bared that the secret of the remarkable showing of both Mendoza and Francisco in the event was working out with heavier javelins used by high school girls.
“They (Mendoza and Francisco) practiced with 700-gram javelins, so when they used the actual 400-gram ones in the competition, they felt lighter and were able to throw it farther,” he said.
While he remains the Ajos Elementary School principal, Telada admitted that athletics is his passion, showing a remarkable ability in nurturing budding sports achievers.
Besides Robles, Telada was also the coach of Jayjay Rogelio, whose elementary boys 800-meter standard of 2:07.6 seconds at the 2002 Palaro still stands. He also trained discus thrower Tyrone Flores, who won the elementary boys discus throw gold in the 2011 meet held in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
“A lot of our athletes are now being ‘pirated’ by other schools not only in Manila but also in Calabarzon,” revealed Telada. Flores, for instance, was recruited as a scholar-athlete of Emilio Aguinaldo College in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
“If they become good athletes, opportunities open up for them,” said the coach, whose other former wards have become athletic scholars at Adamson University and San Beda in Manila.
The accomplishment of Mendoza, whose parents are farmers, could be a stepping stone for a brighter future ahead – another laurel that Telada can certainly be proud of. – Rappler.com
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