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Bicol’s supermen in sports

By Nathan A. Sergio


Bicol’s pinnacle in sports did not just came about in the Sixties when sprinter Claro Pellosis (1960 Rome & 1983 Tokyo) and marathoner Benjamin Silva-Netto (1968 Mexico) represented the country in the Summer Olympics. We did have “supermen” in sports in the first quarter of the 20th century during the so-called Commonwealth period in Philippine history.


May I mention JUAN K. TADURAN and GENARO SAAVEDRA. They deserved remembrance and recognition.


Juan K. Taduran was a three-time decathlon champion in the Far Eastern Championship Games (the precursor of the now Asian Games) specifically years 1921, 1923 & 1925 held in Shanghai (China), in Osaka (Japan) and in Manila, respectively. Before that, he was a close runner-up to the Chinese decathlon champion in the 1919 Games held in Manila, but defeated the latter in 1921, and went on to defend his title two more times.


Before Taduran, however, there was Genaro Saavedra, 1915 decathlon champion in the Far Eastern Championship Games held in Shanghai, China, where he also won gold medals in 100-meter dash, high jump & pole vault, plus bronze medal in long jump. These titles ranked him as one of the tournament’s most successful track athletes. He was the only person to have won Far Eastern Championship Games’ gold medals in four separate disciplines.


Taduran and Saavedra, now both deceased, were natives of the now Iriga City in the Rinconada District of Camarines Sur.


During their heydays, they were considered “supermen”, primarily because decathlon is no ordinary sports event. Decathlon is an athletic event consisting of ten sports contested over two days! Day One: 100 meters sprint, long jump, shot put, high jump, and 400 meters race. Day Two: 110 hurdles, discuss throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1,500 meters race. The athlete who garnered the highest points after the ten-sports, two-day event is declared the champion. In decathlon, the athlete’s speed, stamina, strength and determination are tested to the max.


Interestingly, Juan Taduran, while Irigueno by birth, became a Buhinon by choice. He married a beautiful lass from Buhi named Eugenia Arroyo, and raised a family in Barrio San Pascual, in the town’s poblacion. The couple were blessed with five children, who all became professionals later, namely: Napoleon (dentist), Remedios (teacher), Consolacion (nurse), Eduardo (soldier/policeman), and Josefina (optometrist). Eduardo Taduran was the town’s first graduate from the Philippine Military Academy; he was Regional Commander of Bicol PC-INP in the 80’s.


Juan K. Taduran was born at Yriga (Iriga) on January 27, 1895 to spouses Perfecto Taduran and Dalmacia Casyao, both of Iriga. As to why, on records, his middle name initial is K instead of C, is trivial to this writer; it could be a typo error.


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Nathan Sergio is both a cultural worker and a development worker. He was Naga City Councilor for three terms (2007-2016).

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