ILOCOS SUR, Philippines- Ann Katherine Quitoy, a Grade 11 student from Bacolod City, stunned the crowd and officials as she broke the record for javelin throw for secondary girl in the Palarong Pambansa 2018.
Quitoy was the first record breaker for this year's Palaro as she posted 45.72 meters for her throw, almost 4 meters better than the record set by Sylvian Abunda during the Palarong Pambansa 2017 in Antique.
That decisive difference was what made Quitoy's record stunning, said her coach Adriana Arca.
Abunda's throw of 42.85 meters rewrote the javelin throw mark last year. She failed to defend it this time, as she notched the silver medal.
In an interview, Quitoy told Rappler this was her fifth time to play in the highest sports competition for public schools in the country. This victory, she said, is all the more special because it was her first Palaro gold.
"Super happy and blessed and pinaghandaan ko talaga, gustung-gusto ko talaga na i-break 'yung record na 'yun," Quitoy said.
(I am extremely happy and blessed. I have really prepared for this because I want to break that record.)
During her trainings, the young athlete from Western Visayas was already poised to smash the games record as her throws were all beyond Abunda's record.
This, however, did not make her complacent.
"Sabi ng mga trainers kag coach namin na kahit ganyan yang performance mo, hindi ka talaga mag-e-expect na what if, may ganyan, may ganun,what if may foul," she said.
(My trainers told me not to be too confident with my performance, because you really don't expect anything. It could go wrong, what if there's a foul?)
"Hindi ka ma-pressure sa self mo at dapat relax ka lang, mag-imagine ka lang last training 'nyo na 'to," she added.
(Don't be pressured and just relax. Just imagine that this is already your last training.)
Like every Palaro winner, Quitoy said her victory was a dream come true.
"Dream come true talaga...though na parang nag-imagine lang ako na, 'Imagine lang yata 'yan. Hindi na 'yan matutupad.' Then suddenly, natupad naman," Quitoy said.
(It's really a dream come true. I thought maybe I am only imagining, that this time will not be coming. Then suddenly, it happened.)
Her training, however, had been "very difficult" because she lived away from her parents.
Her coach, Arca, said her family resided in Dumaguete City in the province of Negros Oriental, a 6-hour ride from Bacolod City in Negros Occidental where she was studying.
"Ang pinakamasakit pa dun ay super ang layo ng pamilya sa iyo, tapos kung kailangan mo sila, wala sila 'dun kasi wala sila, kaya ang masasandigan ko lang ay 'yung mga ka-teammate ko doon," she said.
(The most painful part is my family is very far from me, and I when I needed them, they can't be there for me. So I just depended on my teammate there.)
And now that she hads overcome her battle, she offers her victory for her parents, whom, she said, keep supporting her in her passion.
"Sabi ni mama sa text na anak, kaya mo yan, even mananalo ka o matatalo, we always support you and kahit ano'ng mangyari, love na love daw ako nila," she said.
(My mother told me in her text messages that I could do it. She said she said they will always support me and love me whether I win or I lose.)
Offers for scholarship
She added that she also shares her victory with her teammates and coaches "who had been expecting me to finally get this."
As news of her stunning new record spread, Quitoy admitted she has already received scholarship offers from Metro Manila schools. But, it seems, she is not considering the offers for now.
"Gusto ko munang tapusin 'yung high school dun sa Bacolod. Kasi sila 'yung [nag-train sa akin]," she said.
(I want to finish my high school in Bacolod first because there were the ones who trained me.)
Quitoy proudly related how her school and trainers now kept pushing her to her limits.
"'Yung first throw ko before, it's only 33 meters, tapos sila 'yung nagpapalakas sa akin, sila 'yung nag-motivate," she said of her trainers from Bacolod City.
(My first throw was only 33 meters, and they made me stronger. They motivated me.)
"So i-give ko man ang respect ko sa kanila, na sila 'yung nag-build sa akin," she added.
(So I have to give them my respect, because they were the ones who built me.) – Rappler.com