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Verdadero on fire

TAGUM, Davao del Norte—Veruel Verdadero of Dasmarinas City, Cavite, admits to being a handful, a reason why his mother, deeply concerned over her son’s demeanor, urged him to channel his energy to sports.

Verdadero, now 15, tried Frisbee and even basketball, but settled on sprints, a decision that will likely stick as he turned his hyperkinetic ways to good use Thursday in the 2016 Batang Pinoy National Championships at the DavNor Sports and Tourism Center.

Turning the track in flames with a clocking of 23.29 seconds, Verdadero took the gold medal in the 13-15 category, edging Vince Jayson of Iloilo in a photo-finish (23.74) and Earl John limpag of Iligan City (24.15).

It was Verdadero’s fourth gold in athletics after similar triumphs in the 100m dash, where he is the defending champion, 400m and 4×100 relay.

Born in Pasig City, Verdadero first enjoyed Frisbee and basketball but realized later on that what pumps him up even more is the challenge of playing solo.

“In team sports, even if you do good, you can still lose,” said Verdadero, whose buildup for the Batang Pinoy were memorable stints in a youth event in Thailand and the Children of Asia meet in Yakutsk, Russia, last July.

In Russia, the 5-5 Verdadero cried like a baby after winning the bronze in the 200m.

Verdadero was supposed to beef up his delegation’s 4×4 but opted not to after pulling both hamstrings.

Kenneth Corpuz of South Cotabato (boys’ 16-17 200m), Gianeli Gatinga of Tagig City (girls’ 16-17 triple jump), Gim Pel Ablona (girls’ 16-17 javelin throw), Edwin Giron Jr. of Dasmarinas (boys’ 16-17 800m), Marisol Amarga (girls’ 16-17 800m), Raul Payon of Koronadal City (boys’ 13-15 800m) and Bernalyn Bejoy of Negros Occidental (girls’ 13-15 800m) were the other top performers in track and field.

In taekwondo, Baguio City powered its way to six golds via impressive wins by light middleweight John Kim Passion, welterweight Aila Mathel Calip, light middle Realis Lorean Tabiando, light heavy Angel Dy, heavyweight Ashley Janel Salao and welterweight Kristian Mamitag.

Cagayan de Oro and Bulacan had four golds each courtesy of Patrick Marco Dedel (bantamweight), Laizel Abucay (light-middle), Purcia Ang (fly) and Giodanni Bruz Benedicto (bantam).

Cebu City took five gold medals in karatedo’s kata event from Aubrey Codilla (girls’ 12-13), Justin Ayra Azur (girls’ 10-11), Jisha Zhyra Azur (girls’ 8-9), Nicholas Arthur Avila (boys’ 12-13) and Joseph Casquejo (boys’ 11-12).