April 5, 2018
Delegates of the 2018 Palarong Pambansa to be held in Ilocos Sur has one name to look out for.
Sylvian Faith Calixtro Abunda is the only player in the athletics throwing event to represent the Northern Mindanao Region this year in the country’s premier sports competition for student-athletes.
The 11th grader at Lantapan Stand-Alone Senior High School in Poblacion, Lantapan, Bukidnon, will not only carry the three gold medals she nailed during the Northern Mindanao Regional Athletic Association (NMRAA) Meet held in Oroquieta City in December 2017. She will also bring with her the wealth of experience she gained from years of training and striving for excellence as a player in the field of athletic sports.
Sylvian’s journey as an athlete started when she was a sixth grader at Alanib Elementary School (now Alanib Central Elementary School West District), in School Year 2012-2013. Her first shot at the sport proved to be a monumental success when she brought home a bronze medal in the 4×100-meter relay and a silver medal in javelin throw during the 2013 Palarong Pambansa held in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.
This feat did not turn out to be merely a beginner’s luck when in the following year, she bagged the overall championship in the throwing events of the NMRAA Meet. Again, she represented Region X in the 2014 Palarong Pambansa held in Laguna and placed seventh in javelin throw. She was a seventh grader then at Lantapan National High School.
It could have been a winning streak but life is indeed full of challenges. She was confined in the hospital due to dengue fever, which barred her from joining the Regional Meet in the same year. Despite her illness, Sylvian was determined to compete but it was her coach, Samuel Banda, who decided that she needed to rest and recover. Her absence was a great loss to the Northern Mindanao Region’s stint at the 2015 Palarong Pambansa held in Tagum City, Davao Province.
She came back the following year teeming with excitement and enthusiasm as she garnered a gold medal for shot put during the Regional Meet, which earned her a slot in the 2016 Palarong Pambansa held in Albay, where she once again seized a silver medal with a distance of 10.55 [please include unit of measurement].
The champion thrower outdid herself in the 2017 Palarong Pambansa held in Antique when she secured the record of 42.85 meters in javelin throw, clasping a precious gold for the Region.
Sports has been a way of life for Sylvian. In addition to her vigor and stamina, her persistence, perseverance, patience, and dedication enabled her to reach her goals.
“Never surrender,” Sylvian would always utter during vigorous trainings.
In addition to her Palaro accolades, she was also granted with recognition as the Most Outstanding Athlete in the Municipality of Lantapan, which also recognized her achievement abroad. The Regional Office of DepEd Northern Mindanao also gave her distinction during their World Teachers’ Day celebration in 2017.
Despite these accomplishments, Sylvian remained humble through and through. She would never brag about her laurels, nor tell stories about how she defeated her opponents.
“She is an athlete that has characteristics of a champion,” her coach described her.
Samuel Abao Banda
MAPEH Department Head
Lantapan National High School