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By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA

Region 5's Leslie de Lima (left) wins gold during the 3000m event  Secondary Girls category in Palarong Pambansa at Elipidio Quirino Stadium in Bantay Ilocos Sur, April 16, 2018 (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Region 5’s Leslie de Lima (left) wins gold during the 3000m event Secondary Girls category in Palarong Pambansa at Elipidio Quirino Stadium in Bantay Ilocos Sur, April 16, 2018 (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

VIGAN, Ilocos Sur — Camarines Sur bet Lheslie De Lima debuted in the secondary division by storm, claiming the first gold medal even as Cagayan Valley and perennial champion National Capital Region made their presence felt in athletics at the start of the 2018 Palarong Pambansa in separate venues here.

De Lima clocked 10 minutes and 6.54 seconds in the girls’ 3000 meters to give Bicol Region its first mint, beating eventual silver medalist Camila Tubiano of Northern Mindanao (10:07.07) and bronze winner Grace Tejones of Western Visayas (10:55.99) at the President Elpidio Quirino stadium.

The 13-year-old De Lima, who won two silver medals in the elementary division of girls’ 1500m and 800m last year in Antique, actually failed to hear the final bell that signaled the final lap, leaving her and Tubiano running an extra 400 meters.

She ran the race barefoot, saying she was more comfortable to compete without her shoes on.

De Lima hopes to gain more medals when she competes in the heats of the 1500m late in the day and in the 800m final on Thursday.

Algin Gomez and Rashied Faith Burdeos, meanwhile, set the tone early for Cagayan Valley after dominating their respective events at different venues.

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