Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has vowed to help young runners, who with their shoeless bandaged feet, chased after the title of being one of the champions at the Iloilo Schools Sports Council Meet 2019.
In a phone interview Thursday, Benedicto Prasas, Master Teacher 1 at the Carles Elementary School and athletics coach, said Go’s office communicated with them on December 11 and asked for the shoe sizes of the children.
Go’s office later called again to inquire if there are stores in Iloilo where the children could buy spike shoes because the office might send cash instead.
The team from the 5th District was declared over-all champion in Athletics elementary boys and girls in the Iloilo Schools Sports Council Meet 2019, which is commonly known as the Integrated Meet, held at the Iloilo Sports Complex on December 8 to 12. They garnered eight golds for girls and six golds for boys.
Prasas said 24 runners stand to benefit from the pledge. “The children are very grateful to Senator Bong Go for helping these small Filipino athletes realize their dream to run with spike shoes on,” he said.
He noted that the children used spike shoes for training but during competition, they opted to run barefoot because they feel comfortable running without shoes on.
The practice of wrapping athletes’ feet with bandage started in 2006. This is especially done for athletes competing in the middle-distance race, such as the 1,500 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters, and hurdles.
A post of Rhea Bullos that went viral on social media for winning the gold in the 400 meters, 800 meters, and 1500 meters running events in just one day, prompted donors to extend their support after seeing her running with bandaged feet.
Prasas said bandage wrapping starts as early as 5 a.m.
Another coach, Joe Marie Sandoy, joked about putting a brand on their bandage and asked the children about their preferred brand. Majority chose Nike. It was only this year that the bandage was given a “brand”.
He said that this year, due to limited budget, only PHP5,000 was allotted for the acquisition of bandage. Each roll costs about PHP569.
For every pair of feet, they allot PHP500. The bandage is not removed until the competition is over. This year, the athletes endured not removing the bandage for three days.
They slept and took a bath with the bandage on. When taking a bath, their feet are wrapped with plastic so the bandage won’t get wet.
Prasas said that after emerging as champion in athletics, the athletes would be encouraged to use spike shoes during the regional meet.
However, if the athletes opt for the bandage, then they would not be prevented from doing what is comfortable for them. (PNA)