Like the famous biblical kings Saul, David and Absalom, three young Iron kids trudged through different paths to win their battles and emerge champions.
Tara Borlain is so fortunate to have the resources needed in her quest for glory since engaging her chosen passion five years ago—to swim, bike and run in this action-filled sport called triathlon.
The 14-year-old Borlain capped her illustrious career in Alaska IronKids with another victory in the 13-14 category in the recent Alaska Ironkids in Cebu and just like her previous victories, her whole family was around to provide her moral support.
“Ever since I started, the most important thing I learned is that family is the key,’’ said Borlain, an 8th grader at St. Paul University.
“Winning is just in your mind and in your heart, and if you give your best, you’re already a champion. I believe that your family will be the one to push you for that success to happen.”
For Tara, it was a continuation of winning tradition for the family, at least one last time.
Her older sister, Samantha, also graduated last year from Iron Kids with aplomb as they finished 1-2 in the 13-14 years old category.
This time, it was only Tara who the family cheered for and she did not disappoint.
Like her sister, Samantha, Tara works hard and maintains a strong belief in what she’s capable of doing.
And it was not really a hard thing to do because, according to her, the family has always been around to cheer for them.
“It’s actually the best thing I can ask for. When I’m with them, I feel more confident,’’ said Tara. “I got to know myself more because of them.’’
Coming from a poor family, 10-year-old Beboy Dolen was armed with only sheer guts and skills in taking up the expensive sport of triathlon.
The son of a simple fisherman from Danao in Cebu, Dolen wowed everybody as he bested the field, including some participants four years older than him, in the running event to emerged champion in the 9-10 age category of the Ironkids.
Beboy is a shy boy.
Not used to undue attention given him, he was crying during the post-game press conference and could only say a few words when asked about his thoughts following his victory.
“I’m happy that I won. I thank my coaches for helping me,” Beboy said in Cebuano. He refused to answer further questions and began to cry and hide from cameras.
Sigmund Estreba, one of the benefactors of Beboy, said the boy got overwhelmed by the large crowd and media attention that he got that day.
But earlier, Beboy was a little monster.
The 6th grader from Taytay Elementary School negotiated the 200-meter swim, 6km bike and 1.5km run contest to-toe-toe with older participants and easily won her age-bracket. Running on borrowed shoes, it was in the foot race where he shone brightest.
For his victory, Beboy was given a pair of brand-new pair of shoes by one of the race sponsors.
It all started with Beboy’s innocence and curiosity. He sat with other kids one morning during a running seminar conducted by national marathon champion and Rio De Janeiro Olympian Mary Joy Tabal last year.
That was after he was discovered by his coach Andoy Remolino.
“I recognized his potential when I saw a group of kids swimming in Danao. Beboy can win over kids older than him,’’ he said in Cebuano.
When Remolino brought Beboy to train at the Talisay Luigi Triathlon Group, he noted that the boy didn’t even have a pair of sneakers for running and had to borrow a bike from his fellow young triathletes.
“Coach Andoy gives special treatment to Beboy and motivates him to become a winner. Even our friends begin to help us with the equipment because triathlon is an expensive sport,’’ added Estreba, former Talisay swim club president.
Now, they have triathlon star in the making.
Winning is not everything
In the few times that they were together, Kaira Charlize Bordios would always hear her father telling her, “Even if you don’t win, you’re still a winner for me.”
Life has been so good was full of rosy promises for the Bordios family, until one day in May, news came that her father, Arcedny, who working as a seaman, went missing.
Her mother, Charry, couldn’t believe what they heard and she went on to investigate further. All they received were reports that Arcedny was last seen standing on the ship’s deck one afternoon and he never reported for duty again.
He was assumed to have fallen from the ship which was cruising the shark-infested Indian Ocean. No one saw what really happened. No CCTV camera, no witnesses.
“We never know what happened. Mahirap. We could not say if he’s really dead. We’re still hoping (that he’s still alive) “said Charry.
Financially, it has also become difficult for the Bordios family because they have to wait for several years before the court, in the absence of a body, can declare the demise of Arcedny so that the family can claim from his insurance.
For other kids with weaker resolve, they could have just stopped and sulked in the sudden loss of the head of the family.
But not the iron-willed Kaira.
Despite the emotional burden and the dip in resources, Kaira and mom Charry did not stop from competing. Kaira continued to train in her native province in Bacolod for the much awaited Iron Kids in Cebu.
“I want my Papa (father) to see that I’m strong. I want to improve for him,” said Kaira.
She placed 11th place and got a finisher’s medal that glitters like gold.
“I dedicate this (medal) for papa. I want him to know that I am here and competed,” added Kaira, who vowed to continue competing in triathlon until she becomes champion.
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