Young runner wins gold medals in homemade ‘Nike’ shoes with bandages


A young female athlete in the Philippines recently won several gold medals for her school at a provincial sports festival despite not having proper running shoes.

Rhea Ballos, an 11-year-old student from Salvacion Elementary School in Balasan, Iloilo, wore only bandages around her feet when she attended the Iloilo Schools Sports Council meeting.

Facebook user Predirick B. Valenzuela posted images of the girl with her feet wrapped in brown plaster bandages bearing the famous Nike swoosh logo. Ballos even wrote the word “NIKE” on the sides of his “shoes” to complete the “Nike running shoes” look.

The bandages were wrapped tightly around his feet, creating a thin protective layer against the trail. While virtually barefoot during races, she was still able to defeat her opponents who all wore proper shoes intended for racing.

According to the message, Ballos won the top prizes in the 400m, 800m and 1500m races in the women’s categories at the inter-school sports event held in Iloilo, central Philippines.

When images of her makeshift “Nike” shoes went viral, Filipinos on social media showered her with praise for her dedication and character. Many noted that instead of feeling sorry for herself, she was even able to shed some light on the situation by drawing the Nike logo on her “running shoes.”

Some of the commenters on Valenzuela’s post commented on how much the girl deserves recognition from Nike and that the brand should actually give her a new pair of real Nike shoes. Others have started tagging the American sports brand, as well as local basketball specialty store Titan 22.

It didn’t take long for Titan co-founder and Alaska Aces head coach Jeffrey Cariaso to notice Ballos’ outstanding achievement. Cariaso immediately made an effort to get in touch with the young track runner. The seven-time PBA champion has since spoken to the student as well as her coaches in an apparent attempt to help her.

Featured image via Predirick B. Valenzuela

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