Defying the odds! Blind teen athlete snags two gold medals at Central Visayas regional sports event

Blind since birth, 19-year-old Tonny Cabaluna of Toledo City defied expectations by clinching gold in two athletic events at the 2024 Central Visayas Athletic Association Sports Meet early this month.

Tonny Cabaluna has been blind since birth but he snagged gold in two athletic events at the recently concluded 2024 Central Visayas Athletic Association Sports Meet just as impressively as any sighted athlete.

Tonny, a 19-year-old high school student at Luray II National High School in Toledo City, inspired thousands when he competed in the regional sports event early this month, where 8,500 top athletes battled for 1,362 gold medals in various sports.

The visually impaired athlete wowed the audience with a record-breaking jump of 2 meters and 33 centimeters in the running long jump, reported the Philippine News Agency.

According to the Department of Education’s Toledo City Schools division, his precision and skill were impressive as he made a graceful landing.

Tonny further impressed the crowd in the shot put event, surpassing even his coach’s expectations.

In true champion fashion, he jokingly said, as quoted by the DepEd report, “I imagined I was throwing a grenade to the enemies, Sir. I had to throw it far because I was afraid it might also hit me.”

His coach, Edgar Senarlo Jr. also shared how Tonny’s rigorous training and determination set him apart, emphasizing his resilience despite his visual limitations.

“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 [skills] in running, jumping, and throwing,” Senarlo wrote in his report.