One of the greatest rivalries and shows in the Palaro History is sadly about to come to an end. For several years Meagey Ninura of Digos, waited in the shadow of the more illustrious Jieann Calis of Misamis Oriental. The two teenagers from Mindanao put on a spectacular show with both surpassing records the last two years.
Both girls are now 18 this year, and are in Grade 11 first year of senior high school.
In Tagum 2015 Calis wearing the orange of NMRAA dusted off the 800, 1500 and 3000m Records of the Palaro. But it was Ninura in the purple who got the better of her longtime friend and rival when she further lowered the palaro records in the 1500 and 3000.
Jieann who managed to hang onto the Palaro title yet humbled said
“Its ok if I lost to Meagey this time, I couldn’t ask for a better opponent and its ok but we are good friends” -Jieann Calis
Meagey performance broke the long standing 36 year old, 3000m National Junior Record of Rosalinda Catulong set in 1980.
Having managed and selected the two and first me them as 15 year olds at the ASEAN School Games in Marikina 2014. Is amazing to see how time has flown. The two small girls who barely stand 5 feet even still I recall them running 1500 and 3000 and at that time inexperienced where bumping into each other a lot going around the curves. Im not sure if that was deliberate or due to inexperience.
Anyway I met both their coaches Maylene, who also played a small part in Mae Barit, along side her mentor Eran Escalona. Another previous Palaro 1500 and 3000m Champion, and went onto coach Meagey Ninura. Escalona serves as the mentor to Coach Maylene and Coach Aldwin Escalona with the three working together as a team at Kapatagan about an hour outside of Digos City. Escalona ward David Gemar Marcelo took silver in the steeples and 5000 last Palaro.
I also met Rhodelaine Paragmoc who was coaching Jieann Calis, she also coached Palaro record holder Efrelyn Democer in Javelin. Happy to say both are wonderful people and doing well to develop grass roots in their parts of Mindanao. Interestingly the two coaches were school mates together at University in Iligan.
Jieann in 2016 is now studying at the University of Santo Tomas, so this time will line up for NCR having represented NMRAA for several years. Mainly because her family moved to Luzon. She is doing well and top of her class in UST.
Meagey has been the recipient of several offers for college in the United States but has decided to stick with Maylene until she finishes senior high school. The oportunities given to Meagey to compete in the NCAA of the US can lead to bigger breakthroughs on the international stage later in her career.
With both girls doing better than in previous years at their regional meets, it possible records again are expected to fall. But what is for certain is one last bump for the two friends and rivals at Palaro 2017.