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Javelin mark set

SAN JOSE, Antique — James Lozanez’s hard training for 42 days paid off yesterday as the rookie javelin thrower from Estancia, Iloilo became the first record-breaker of the Palarong Pambansa at the Binirayan Sports Complex here.

An incoming 11th grader at Estancia National High School, Lozanes hurled the spear to 59.46 meters on his third attempt and smashed the previous mark of 57.81m set by Bryan Pacheco of Central Luzon during the 2013 Palaro in Dumaguete City.

“I trained for 42 straight days. I worked out with my dumb bells thrice a day and focused on the throwing technique,’’ said Lozanez, sixth among the seven children of a fisherman father.

What made Lozanez’s record-ripping effort more impressive was that he did it using cross-trainers sneakers instead of the usual spike shoes.

Lozanez, who hopes to become a policeman someday, will be seeking a second gold in today’s discus throw.

Ronald Lacson of Western Visayas settled for the silver ((57.30m) and Manny Maquiling of Northern Mindanao placed third (54.66m).

Also shining for the day that kicked off the five-day athletics competition were Jay Ann Labasano of Camiguin and Cesar Fernandez of Sagay City, Negros Occidental who reigned supreme in the secondary girls’3000m and secondary boys’ high jump, respectively.

Labasano, daughter of a farmer, surprised Jie Anne Calis of National Capital Region.

Fernandez, on the other hand, beat out Kent Celeste for the gold after clearing the 1.90-meter barrier right on his first try.

Maria Sally San Jose of Calabarzon climbed the medal podium by topping the elementary girls shot put with a 10.70-meter effort in her second throw.

Medal-rich swimming, featuring record-holder Maurice Sacho Ilustre who won eight gold medals in the previous Palaro, will begin today with 16 gold medals at stake.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines is throwing its full support to Palarong Pambansa’s program of youth empowerment, standing as hydration partner of the weeklong event among student-athletes from across 18 regions.

The annual multi-sporting meet serves as the culmination of the Department of Education’s physical development programs that have nurtured the skills, talent and character of the Filipino youth in general.