John Brien C. Nisperos
Region 1

DAVAO CITY – It was the first gold catch for the Golden Kingfishers.

James Oranza delivered Region 1 Athletics Association (R1AA) its first gold medal after topping Taekwondo Poomsae–Secondary Boys on day one of the 2019 Palarong Pambansa at Gaisano Grand Mall of Toril, April 29.

The 16-year-old jin from Mangatarem, Pangasinan locked his top-podium finish as he registered 7.750 points, enough to eclipse eventual silver medalist Rovic James Nitre of BARMMAA who scored 7.550 points.

Sobrang saya po kasi ako ‘yung unang naghatid ng gintong medalya sa rehiyon natin,” Oranza said with a big smile.

Golden Kingfisher James Oranza poses with his gold medal—Region 1’s first gold—in the awarding ceremony of Taekwondo Poomsae–Secondary Boys at Gaisano Grand Mall of Toril, April 30. Photo by Mark Anthony Laplana

Two-time Palarong Pambansa standout Oranza was not really into taekwondo until his father encouraged him to try the sport since he was a bullying victim back in their hometown.

Binu-bully po ako dati. Tapos nalaman po ni Papa kaya ipinasubok niya po sa akin ang taekwondo,” Oranza claimed. “Nagustuhan ko at nahiligan hanggang nagtuluy-tuloy na po.

Meanwhile, CALABARZON’s King Nash Alcairo and Zeick Andre Tacay of the Cordilleras shared a place in the third spot after individually scoring 7.545 points.

The Kingfisher taekwondo athlete started training eight years ago and did not disappoint as he also represented the country in the 2nd Asian Cadet Poomsae Championships where he brought home a bronze medal. He also received the black belt at the age of 14.

Philippine Taekwondo cadet Oranza will fly back to Manila on the same night of the awarding as he will compete in the 14th ASEAN Championships this May 4-5 at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.