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TAGUM, Davao del Norte – Genesis Marana of Nueva Ecija used to excel in athletics but she may have found her true love Sunday after taking two gold medals in the criterium event of cycling in the 2016 Baang Pinoy National Championships at the tree-lined avenues leading to the City Hall built at a staggering cost of P1-billion.
Marana took her first gold in the Category B 15-under before another shining moment in the 17-under just 30 minutes after her first win of the day, a few hours before the sportsfest formally opened at the DavNor Sports and Tourism Complex.
A cousin of Marlboro Tour veterans Ariel and Dominador Marana, the 15-year-old from San Jose City posted a clocking of 14 minutes and 34 seconds in the 15-under, edging Myra Regina Acedo of Davao City and Karen Manayon of Cebu, who wound up second and third with identical times of 14:39.
In the 17-under, Marana, a Grade 10 student at San Jose National High, then submitted a time of 23:30.84 to nip Veronica Deldio of Olongapo City and Manayon, who settled for second and third, respectively, with times of 23:32.83.
“I used to compete in athletics and I won a bronze during the 2013 Palarong Pambansa in Dumaguete in the 100m girls low hurdle,” said Marana in Tagalog.
But Marana later became enamored with bicycles when she began traveling to school on two wheels with a relative before starting to compete and win in local races.
But the first two gold medals were snatched by Joseff Miguel Quirino of Malaybalay, Bukidnon, and Moira Erediano of Lapu-Lapu, Cebu, in the 13-under boys and 13-under girls.
Erediano, who is deep into triathlon, having placed second in the Ironkids, clocked 11:40.00, way ahead of Alexie Guinhuran of Bukidnon and Jeana Marel Canete of Cebu with 13:01.37.
A Grade 6 student at Sacred Heart-Ateneo de Cebu, Erediano says she also plays the piano, spends her free time hooked on youtube and dreams of becoming an Olympian.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez delivered the keynote address while Philippine Sports Commission chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez declared the games open.
The centerpiece athletics events, meanwhile, take the spotlight Monday with the holding of the finals in the 5000m boys (16-17 years old), long jump (girls 13-15), shot put (boys 16-17) and high jump (boys 13-15).
There will also be finals in other cycling events and triathlon Monday. (Nick Giongco)