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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Saturday, October 03, 2015

entry arrow3:46 PM | The Hurdler

A history of the athletics in this part of the Philippines, I think, is something some local sports scholar should seriously consider studying. There's a ton of information out there. For example, there's the fascinating story of Sillimanian high jumper Simeon Toribio, one of the country's first Olympians, who won the Bronze Medal at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. In 1928, he wrote a letter back home to Dumaguete [subsequently published in the August 1 issue of The Sillimanian], where he talks about arriving at Port Said in Egypt on the way to the Amsterdam Olympics: "By way of practice, we have endeavoured to keep ourselves in condition. At every port the boat calls, we set out for some jogging. It is difficult to find any jumping pit. On board, we have made a cushion for my landing so that with my rubber shoes, I can practice jumping with no danger."

Toribio was also a campus poet. This is one of his poems, published in 1927, and already heavy with sports metaphors:

The Hurdler

O'er the hurdles you go for the tape at the goal,
O'er these hindering bars from your starting foot-hole,
With the cheers and the cries in your front, at your back,
At the left and the right of the track.
Now you keep your fast gait and keep on stepping right,
Then a pebble that lies on the way of your flight,
Your alighting foot sprains, and lowers your nat'ral speed,
For it does e'en to any race steed.
Up and down! up and down! up and down! what a force!
From the start to the goal, can there be any worse?
But you never would stop and while onward you go,
A good lesson you teach -- don't you know?
That like jumping o'er hurdles in life we are bound
With our rooters unseen, -- but with hope so profound;
We should clear the high hurdles steadier,
So we breast our life tape the earlier.

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