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Thursday, April 25, 2024

NAS scholar-athlete makes big splash at Batang Pinoy pool

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Jonas Daniel Ocampo, one of the first student-athletes of the National Academy of Sport at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, made heads turn on his maiden splash in competitive swimming.

The 12-year-old Ocampo struck gold and bagged a silver medal in two of three events that he joined in the swimming competitions of the recently- concluded Philippine Sports Commission-organized Batang Pinoy national championships in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

On his first outing, Kevin Chan of Valenzuela and Daniel Ocampo settled for the silver and bronze behind Kristian Cabana of Lucena City, with the clockings of 2:13.40 and 2:35.30 in the 200m backstroke events at the Quirino Stadium pool.

Ocampo, who started attending virtual classes when the NAS’ first academic year officially started on Sept. 13, 2021, bounced back with his first-ever gold medal in the grassroots development meet, topping the 200-meter backstroke, with a time of 2:34.56.

Lucena City’s Julian de Kam joined Compuesto in claiming his fifth gold medal at the Quirino pool in the weeklong meet, when he and teammates Mikos Trinidad, Peter Cyrus Dean, and Sahjeed Sarmientos dominated the boys 13-15-year-old 4×50 meter freestyle relay.

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“This was a great learning experience for me,” said Ocampo, one of the kids of former University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) tennis champion Pius Jonas Ocampo and his wife Mitzi.

The Batang Pinoy is the third competition, and the first major one, for the young Ocampo this year, after he earlier competed in the FINIS and Philippine National Age Group meets.

HAVING FUN

Ocampo said his times are getting better, and he’s been having fun at the same time.

He shifted to swimming after he was asked by his parents about his choices when he was about to enter the NAS as a scholar.

“This year lang siya na nag-start mag-compete since everything opened after the COVID-19 lockdowns. Sunod-sunod na rin,” said Mitzi, who cheered Jonas on, along with his brother Jan, and her two other kids.

Jonas could have followed in the footsteps of his dad, who won medals for the University of Santo Tomas when he was competing in the UAAP from 2001 to 2005.

After Pius and Mitzi graduated, they settled down in Pampanga. Pius is an ophthalmologist specializing in the cornea, while Mitzi is a dermatologist, both at the Angeles City Medical Center.

Jonas Daniel Ocampo during the awarding ceremony in Batang Pinoy swimming competition and with mom Mitzi. (From Ocampo Swimmers page)

There was an opportunity for Jonas to compete in an international meet in Malaysia before the Batang Pinoy meet.

But his parents were not ready to deal with the resources needed to join such big events at that time.

With progress seen in the Batang Pinoy, Jonas would most likely find himself seeing action internationally soon.

The National Academy of Sports system was established with the signing of Republic Act No. 11470 on June 9, 2020 by President Rodrigo Duterte, with plans for the main campus to be set up at the New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, Tarlac.

Josephine Joy Reyes was appointed as the NAS system’s first Executive Director in October last year.

In July 2021, the NAS launched its first NAS Annual Search for Competent, Exceptional, Notable, and Talented Student-Athlete Scholars (NASCENT SAS), an annual scholarship program that would scout Filipino student-athletes from across the Philippines.

The NAS’ first academic year officially started on Sept. 13, 202. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, classes will be initially and primarily done virtually.

The construction of a dedicated campus for the NAS in New Clark City began in early October 2021. It is scheduled to be completed by February 2022.

It is the intention of the NAS intends to provide a secondary education program with a curriculum intended to improve its students’ performance in sports.

The initial program will cover eight sports, and this includes aquatics, athletics, badminton, gymnastics, judo, table tennis, taekwondo and weightlifting.

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