Running Shoes Sharing at Batang Pinoy Games
I was on natural high when I entered the stadium; the red tartan contrasting the blue sky was a sight to behold. The runners are being called one-by-one, presented to the people watching the events. As a runner myself, I felt at home.
I was taking some photos of the 800m event for girls. Next event is the 100m-dash, as I continually to take some pics I saw a 100m girl runner from Bayawan City, Negros Oriental running not to the starting line but to the 800m runner who just finished her event. She was in a hurry, motioning the other runner to remove the shoes faster so she can go to the starting line.
The shoes exchange happened too fast, glad that I was able to snap a photo:
Seriously, I can’t believe that it just happened, right before my very eyes. A lot of memories went through my mind and before I knew it, I was trying to stop the tears from my eyes. It’s good that I was wearing shades, so I can hide my now moistened eyes. I was calming myself. I wish I can do something.
When I went back to the hotel, I immediately shared it on my Facebook:
At that time, it was the best thing I can do- let my friends know about what’s really happening in the grassroots level of the sporting community.
I woke up today, still thinking about what I saw yesterday. I was determined to find those two runners and interview them.
I am really thankful for this opportunity- covering the Batang Pinoy Games. I am gaining a lot of understanding with what really is happening with our young athletes. I can say that this kind of tournament is what we need if we want to succeed in the international games. I want to say it again and again, KUDOS to the able leadership of the Philippine Sports Commission. PSC, I believe, is fueled by young blood and futuristic minds.
I went back to the coliseum, asked around for the two girls on my photo. I was informed that they were Geralyn Rafols & Jamaica Moraclos, both 13 years old. Geralyn is from Minaba National Highschool and Jamaica from Bayawan National Highschool, they have been running since elementary and this is their first time to compete on a national level. The biggest event that they joined before this was the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (CV-RAA) held in Liloan, Cebu last year.
I asked who really owns the shoes, it was Geralyn’s but she lends it to Jamaica because she doesn’t have a spike shoes. On my mind, I was wondering how they train with that condition. (Sidenote: I am sniffing as I write this part). I then asked where the shoes are and found out that the familiar orange Brooks is worn by a different runner this time, Sacha. So the spike shoes are being shared not only by two but by three runners. Brace yourself, they don’t have the same shoes sizes.
“So the spike shoes are being shared not only by two but by three runners.”
I also grabbed the opportunity to talk to their coach, Neal Oliver Caraig. He was delighted that someone was able to look into their situation. He was telling me that they have a very tight budget; most of the athletes are sharing shoes because they don’t have their own and it’s too expensive to even buy from second hand shops. He even told me that they have two barefoot runners, he told me that they chose to run barefoot because they can’t afford to buy one. A young guy goes to me and says (in his Visayan accent), “Ok lang yan sa amin kuya, may trust naman kami sa aming kakayahan.” (It’s fine with us sir, we trust our ability). But Coach Neal admits that complete uniform and proper equipments would add self-confidence and boosts morale. He now thinks of approaching some private entities for sponsorships.
After the interview, I watched the remaining games (4 x 100m) and found another team doing the same- sharing shoes. Ohhh, it’s a common thing huh! But can we do something about it? I mean, sharing is okay but it is way better if you have your own running shoes ayt? Its hard to train three runners with one shoes diba? Still, this is pure passion! What a dedication to the sports we all love. SALUDO!
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Batang Pinoy Games 2011 is a grass-roots development program organized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to identify young talents to be trained for the national pool of athletes. Mindanao leg was hosted by Zamboanga City (Oct 17-30); Visayas leg is being hosted by Dumaguete City (Nov 10-13); Northern Luzon leg by Baguio City (Nov 24-27); Southern Luzon by Sta. Cruz City (Dec 4-7); NCR leg (Nov 29 – Dec 2); and the Finals will be held at Naga City on December 10-13, 2011.
Official website: Batang Pinoy 2011
Facebook Page: Batang Pinoy (PSC Grassroots Program)