Searching for new potential cycling champions
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
IT was November 6 last year when I had a talk with Gov. Amado “Pogi” Espino III at the provincial sports office in Lingayen and asked me to focus on the development of our young cyclists in the province who can replace our aging riders. I did not have to think twice and accepted the task that was not new to me. I have trained many local cyclists who already won multiple accolades for the province.
Yes, to name a few whom I had trained included 1983 Asian Cycling Championship track silver medalist Edgardo Pagarigan of Barangay Bolaoen, Bugallon, 2001 Asian Cycling Championship road race silver medalist and 2003 Tour Pilipinas champion Arnel Quirimit of Barangay Palac-palac, Pozorrubio,1981 and 1987 SEAG (Southeast Asia Games) gold and silver medalists Alex Lopez and Emeterio Natavio, respectively, both from Barangay Guesang, Mangaldan; ex-Tour champions my town mates and teammates the Carino brothers, Samson (1975) and Ruben (1984) of Barangay Landas; my teammate and town mate, three-time Tour first runner-up, Cesar Catambay of Barangay Malabago; ex-Tour champions Samson Etrata (1975) and Pepito Calip (1985) both from Binalonan; the Bonzo siblings Modesto (1976) and Romeo (1983) of Sual; Bernardo Llentada (1991) of San Nicolas, Baler Ravina (2012) of Asingan, and the only four-time Tour champion in the Philippines, my godson Santy Barnachea (2002, 2006, 2010, 2015) of Barangay Esperanza, Umingan. But the last and not the least, my first child and my only cycling son, two-time Olympian (1992 Barcelona and 2000 Sydney) Jazy. Yes, the only Pangasinan-born cycling Olympian.
In fact, Pangasinan is the only province in the country that already produced 19 national Tour champions whose names, birthplaces and years of reign I can enumerate.
This task is definitely not new to me. I’d been in this job during the time of former governors Aguedo Agbayani and Oscar Orbos who appointed me as provincial consultant/coordinator, armed with a Certificate of Participation during the Regional Youth and Sports Development Management and Leadership Seminar-Workshop conducted at the National Arts Center in Mount Makiling, Los Banos, Laguna on September 18-20, 1978. The certificate was personally handed to me by then Minister Gilberto Duavit of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
Indeed, cycling is undeniably the number two favorite sport of Pangasinenses after basketball, but while the province is not running out of competitive and prominent cyclists, their number is dwindling. I can only mention nine based it on their performance last year. They are the Bordeos brothers Mark Julius and Warren of Laoac, Dominique Perez of Sto. Tomas, Ronald Oranza and Jay Lampawog of Villasis, Mark Julius Bonzo of Sual, the Carino siblings Joshua and Daniel Ven of Mangaldan and Spain born long-time Dagupan City resident Edgar Nieto.
But I’m happy to say and believe that we have just discovered a new one, a very young cyclist named Efren Reyes, a Dagupan City-born 16-year-old protégé of Engr. Rodolfo “Boy” Dion. More on his profile on next week issue.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all an all who believe. For there is no difference; For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ROMANS 3: 22-23
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