Fastest man takes it easy as coach

Richiel S. Chavez
·3 min read

DURING his prime, Mandaue City’s track pride Daniel Noval was known as the fastest century dash athlete, setting Philippine records in national and international competitions.

He was dubbed as a small-town boy from a public school—Labogon National High School—who shocked the Palarong Pambansa after winning back-to-back gold medals in the 100-meter and 200m dash in 2009 and 2010.

In 2010, he reset the benchmark in the 100m to 10.9 seconds and in the 200m to 22.19 seconds. Those records stood for at least three years before they were eventually broken in 2012 and 2013.

Noval, who went on to suit up for De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in college, has one Philippine national record that remains untouched up until this day. This is the junior PH record which he set twice in the Thailand Open in 2012. He logged 10.79 seconds to shatter the national junior record of Ralph Waldy Soguilon and ran a 10.74 in the semifinal round.

It was in that same year that Noval broke the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s record for the 100m dash that served as one of the biggest highlights of his collegiate years.

In the following year, Noval set a new PH senior record in 100m (10.42) but it stood only for a year as it was broken by Filipino-American athlete and Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Eric Cray, who ran 10.25 in 2015.

Noval, who became a member of the national team, described his career as beyond fruitful. During his career in Manila he also won a gold medal in the UniGames.

“I won gold medal in the 100m dash from 2011 to 2013, then silver medal for 200m from 2011 to 2014,” Noval said of his stint in the NCAA, which is the oldest collegiate sporting meet in the country. “In seasons 2014 to 2015, I won a silver medal in 100m and bronze medal in the 200m.”

Looking back, Noval said that he had no regrets and had the time of his life during those years.

“On my part, I’m very overwhelmed. I never thought that I could make history. Breaking records, all of that. My aim was really to get a scholarship and I got more with extras on my athletic career,” he said.

Noval completed his degree in BSBA Computer Application and returned to Cebu to pursue another career—coaching.

He taught athletics at the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu from 2015 to 2016 before transferring as assistant track and field coach and basketball conditioning staff for University of Cebu in 2017.

With his experience in the big stage, Noval now 27 years old is not just bringing the lesson in sports to the table but also lessons in life.

“There are times that you have problems in school, family and athletic performance. You have to teach the young athletes the self-motivation and time management. If you have these traits you can manage these problems that we have to face,” said Noval.

He said that being able to relate the experience and journey of athletes, makes it easier for him to deal with his students now as he knows what they’re going through.

“I can relate to them and I can teach them the basic training on how to overcome the struggle in life,” he said.

UC is a perennial contender in both the track and field and basketball in the Cebu City Olympics, Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (Cviraa) and the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi).

This is now the new task of Noval, to guide the student-athletes on their athletic path.

As sporting events are still prohibited under the new normal and community quarantine, the bemedalled trackster urges the athletes to just stay focused on their goals.