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Visually Impaired Student Wins Gold In Cebu Regional Athletic Meet


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A 19-year-old visually impaired high school student from the west of Cebu province’s Toledo City gained the admiration of thousands of student-athletes after winning the gold in the running long jump and shot put in the ongoing Central Visayas Athletic Association (CVRAA) 2024 here.

Tonny Cabaluna of the Luray II National High School in Toledo City, defied the odds – being blind since birth – and joined the regional meet of 8,500 best athletes vying for the 1,362 gold medals in various sporting events.

At the opening of the event on May 4, Cabaluna showed an exceptional performance in the “running long jump,” setting a new record with a jump of 2 meters and 33 cm., according to the report of the Department of Education’s Toledo City schools division.

“His precision and skill were evident as he gracefully landed on the layers of sand, marking a moment of triumph,” the report said.

The following day, Cabaluna, a resident of Barangay Larap in Toledo City, sent the audience in awe when he joined the shot put event and surpassed expectations as his throw exceeded the predictions of his coach and trainer.

“Akong gi-imagine sir nga nag-itsa ko’g granada sa kontra, Sir. Ako jud ilayo og labay kay maapil pa lang ko (I imagined that I was throwing a grenade to the enemies, Sir. I have to throw it far as I am afraid that it might also hit me),” the DepEd report said on how Cabaluna jokingly justified the remarkable result of his throw.

His coaches and trainers recalled how Cabaluna rigorously trained and prepared for the 2024 CVRAA over other athletes who eyed gold and recognition.

Cabaluna trained under Edgar Senarlo Jr., a teacher at the Luray II National High School who also contributed the article to DepEd to report his coachee’s exceptional performance over the seeming impossibility given his visual challenge vis-à-vis the track and field events he specialized.

“Tonny’s disability has never defined him. Despite facing numerous hurdles, particularly in accessing education, he remains steadfast in his pursuit of excellence. His passion for athletics has been a driving force in his life, where he astounds others with his prowess in running, jumping, and throwing,” Senarlo wrote in his report.

“Through his participation in sports, Tonny showcases that blindness is not a barrier to achieving one’s dream,” Senarlo said.

After the CVRAA event, Cabaluna will be back in his home city bringing pride not only to his family, friends, and school but also to the physically challenged community. (PNA)