MANILA — Greg Anthony Muyong and Marcus Caleb Pablo grabbed two gold medals in their respective class as the Congress of the Philippine Aquatics, Inc. (COPA) celebrated the return of the Novice swim meet with the participation of public school students on Saturday at the Teofilo Ildefonso swimming pool inside the historic Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
The 14-year-old Muyong of Green Blasters Swim Club topped the boys 14-yrs. Class A 50 meter Freestyle (27.90) and 100-m Individual Medley (1:09.90) while Pablo of Aquaknights won the 6-yrs old category in 50-m free (57.41) and 25-m breaststroke (28.91) to emerge as the most promising swimmers in the two-day event as part of COPA’s grassroots sports program.
COPA founder Batangas 1st District Cong. Eric Buhain along with coach Chito Rivera and Richard Luna awarded the medals to all the winners after delivering an inspirational message, particularly to the young swimmers from public schools who dream of joining a competitive tournament, despite the lack of a facility to practice and short on paying club memberships and coaches.
“Walang dapat maging sagabal sa ating mga pangarap. Hindi dito natatapos ang inyong pagpupursige, every tournament dapat laging misyon ninyo ay maimprove ang inyong mga oras. Nakakapagod, pero kailangan nating magtiyaga, ang magsakripisyo para maabot natin ang ating pangarap. Kami po sa COPA ay handang gumabay sa inyong lahat lalo na sa mga batang nagnanais matuto at humusay,” said the two -time Olympian and SEA Games multi-medalist.
“Maraming nagtatanong sa akin kung ano ang nararamdaman ko dahil hanggang ngayon ay wala pang nakakabura sa six-gold medal na nakuha ko sa SEA Games noong 1991. Dito sa mismong swimming pool na nilanguyan ninyo nagawa ko ang record. Ang sagot ko, malungkot si Eric Buhain dahil mahabang taon na ang nakalipas wala pang nakakabura sa record. Sa inyong hanay, umaasa ako na magmumula sa inyo ang bubura sa record ni Eric Buhain,” added the former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman.
Rivera, also the head coach of Jose Rizal University (JRU) varsity, said that it was Buhain’s idea and mission to strengthen the program at the grassroots level not just for swimmers affiliated with COPA’s club members but for all young swimmers, particularly students in public schools.
“Itong mga batang ito ay hindi na magaalala kung saan nila kukunin ang mga gastusin para makalangoy. Nakikipag-usap na ang COPA sa DepEd at sa iba’t ibang local na pamahalaan through our cluster officials para magabayan sila at makasali sa mga tournaments,” said Rivera.
Other winners in the meet also supported by Speedo were Roderick Gonzalvo in 50-m free Class A 13-yrs (27.30); Matthew Paz (Class B, 38.70); Elijah Manalili (Class C, 40.82); Daniel Karl Glory in 50-m 14 years Class B (36.40); Dannish Londob (Class C, 39.40); boys 15 50m free Alvin Marticion (Class A 25.80); Carl Malbas (Class B, 33.30); Jhonny Mendoza and Roldan Seiga (Class C, 37.40); 7-yrs old 25m breast Caleb Immanuel Pascia (31.31); boys 11-yrs 100-m IM Kurt Exebia (1:27.00); Rodevic Gonza;vo (boys 14, 1:05.40);
Benjie Manto (boys 6 50-m free, 57.41); Achilles Calingo (boys 7, 58.98); Brennan Batchao in boys 8 (class A, 27.33); Nathan Bayron (Class C, 37.80); Kai Mangubat in the boys 10 breaststrokes (Class A, 21.54); Yuan Dela Cruz (Class B, 24.60); John Catindig (Class C, 27.50); Clarez Layos in 11-yrs breast (Class A, 21.30); Kurt Exebia (Class B, 22.70); Corvin Mcmeans (Class C, 27.00).
Action resumes today (Sunday) with the girls’ division.
Officers of the Congress of the Philippine Aquatics, Inc. (COPA) headed by Olympian Congressman Eric Buhain (center, white polo) pose for posterity with public school students who were invited to participate in COPA’s Novice Swim Championship on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.