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By: Glendale Rosal September 20,2018 - 10:18 PM

Nicole Marie del Rosario of Cebu Province (top of the podium) with second placer Moira Frances Erediano and third placer Ericka Maive.

Used to bridesmaid finishes, Cebu Province’s Nicole Marie del Rosario takes it to the next level and bags four golds in Batang Pinoy Nationals

Baguio City — The road to the top is never easy.

Take it from 15-year-old Nicole Marie del Rosario, who was once used to being a bridesmaid in races until she broke out and bagged four gold medals in the ongoing Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Batang Pinoy National Championship here.

The ninth grader of the University of San Carlos-Basic Education (USC-BED) is the only athlete of Cebu Province to win four gold medals. She won cycling’s criterium race and road race in the 14-15 age group earlier this week and added two more yesterday by topping the individual time trial (ITT) of the same age group and the duathlon event held at the Baguio Athletic Bowl.

Her feat has made her one of the most successful Cebuano athletes in the ongoing multisporting meet.

But it wasn’t always like this for Del Rosario, a member of the vaunted Talisay Luigi Triathlon Group (TLTG) and a varsity trackster of USC-BED.

She has been regularly competing in most of Cebu’s triathlons and fun runs but always ended up second best or lower.

“I almost quit a lot of times because no matter how hard I tried, I only placed second or third,” Del Rosario told Cebu Daily News.

This happened so often to the point that Del Rosario almost got used to it.

“Before I was happy that even though I lost and if I see my teammates win, I am already satisfied with it,” she said.

But she never gave up. And ironically, it was in losing that she learned to strive more.

“I had a strong belief that there’s more room for improvement with my skills, no matter how long it takes. That was the only thing that was keeping me from quitting,” said Del Rosario. “What I learned from losing a lot of times is to endure all the suffering that you feel in the middle of the race. Embrace the pain, no matter what, because that’s how athletes become champions.”

Del Rosario could have won five gold medals if she did not suffer from hypothermia during the triathlon event last Wednesday. She ended up fifth in her division.

Still, she is very much satisfied with her performance in the meet.

“I am happy to win four gold medals because I usually place second or third. I really did not expect to win this many gold medals. My mindset was to do my best, because I was against stronger rivals so all I have to do is give all my best,” said Del Rosario, who started triathlon at the age of 10 after renowned marathon coach John Philip Dueñas introduced her to the sport.

In the duathlon event, Del Rosario bested her friend and TLTG teammate Moira Frances Erediano by clocking 28 minutes and 58 seconds. Erediano crossed the finish line in 29:02. Ericka Maive of Baguio City rounded off the top three with a time of 29:12.

Del Rosario clocked 10:29 to rule the ITT race.

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