SINGAPORE - Probably playing in his first and last ASEAN School Games, Filipino triple jumper John Marvin Rafols did not want to end his campaign on a losing note as he fulfilled his long-time dream of bringing honor to his country.
Rafols, a Grade 12 student of the University of Cebu, registered a personal-best 15.02 leap in the triple jump event to finally win that elusive gold medal.
After only salvaging the bronze medal in the long jump event, Rafols bested rival Srinonta Nattapong of Thailand who recorded a 14.91 leap as the latter snagged the silver.
Rafols’ teammate Karl Arvyn Aquino, who already captured the long jump event gold, settled for the bronze with 14.88 leap.
“I am really happy to bring honor for the country. Big blessing for me as an athlete,” said the eighteen-year-old eldest son of Josephine, sales clerk, and Marvin.
Rafols admitted that he gets nervously easily especially during big competitions. But he never relinquished the opportunity to shine in his very first international competition.
“Mahirap dito (International). Kelangan ng confidence. Hindi kasi kilala ang kalaban. Pero nagdasal lang ako before yung turn ko,” said Rafols who underwent two weeks of training at the Philsports in Pasig City in preparation for the ASG.
But when his turn came, Rafols, for his part, knew he can win the gold medal after Nattapong from Thailand fell short on his target distance during his last jump.
It was only a matter of time as Rafols delivered the country’s 10th gold in the sporting event that aims to strengthen ties among ASEAN member countries among student-athletes.
The eldest among four siblings, Rafols revealed that he was a former basketball player during his elementary years but was recruited as track and field athlete by one of his mentors, Coach June to join the latter’s team.
“Malakas daw kasi akong tumalon,” Rafols shortly quipped. “Kahit first love ko ang basketball, dito ako nagshi-shine eh.”
Reaching that ultimate dream of Rafols to be part of the national team athletes for athletics won’t be easy. But he has committed himself to train harduer and improved as an athlete.
“Ang sa akin lang po is ginagawa ko na po yung malilit na steps to make it into a reality,” Rafols said. (PSC PR)
FILIPINO triple jumper John Marvin Rafols (third from left) holds his medal and Nila mascot replica after clinching the gold medal in the boys triple jump event held at the Bishan Stadium here. Also in the photo is Karl Arvyn Aquino (2nd from left) who salvaged the bronze medal in the same event. (PSC PHOTO)
Philippine Sports Commissioner Charles Raymond A. Maxey congratulates Filipino trackster and bronze medalist Jie Anne Calis bronze during the awarding ceremony held this afternoon at the Bishan Stadium here. Calixto salvaged the bronze in the 800 meters finals. (PSC PHOTO)