SAN JOSE, Antique — The pressure is on for Team Cordillera as the biggest sporting event backed by the Department of Education unfolds this coming Sunday here in one of the provinces in the island of Panay, Western Visayas.
With the arrival of the second batch of athletes mostly from private schools comprising the Cordillera Administrative Region official delegation last April 18, the in-house training goes full force as athletes and officials vow for a better finish in this year’s staging of the Palarong Pambansa.
“We are not promising anything but with the dedication of our coaches and trainers in preparing our athletes, we are hoping for an improvement from our last year’s 9th place overall finish,” Regional Sports Coordinator Agustin B. Gumuwang said.
Gumuwang added that Team Cordillera is facing a stiff competition from other regions even in events dominated by Cordillerans in the past Palaro outings like combative sports.
“Based on the performance of other regions in wushu and wrestling last year, we are looking at a tougher competition for our athletes. Wushu and wrestling this year are considered regular sports,” the sports coordinator expressed.
Meanwhile, DepEd OIC Assistant Regional Director Soraya T. Faculo advised the athletes to pit their skills and talents against opponents but make the most of the wonderful opportunity to showcase their athletic prowess and the spirit of true Cordillerans during the send-off of athletes last April 12 at the Baguio City High School Auditorium.
Echoing the call for a better overall rank on the same occasion, Regional Development Council Chairman and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan urged the athletes and coaches to be disciplined at all times since they are already considered as ambassadors of goodwill of the region.
Bannered by the theme, “2017 Palarong Pambansa: Converges Youth Power, Builds Sustainable Future,” the 60th edition of Palaro will open on Sunday with no less than President Rodrigo R. Duterte as guest of honor and speaker.
Aside from wushu and wrestling, futsal and billiards are also regular sports this year. Demonstration sports on the other hand are dancesports, pencak silat, aerobic gymnastics, and 2000m walkathon. Team Cordillera just added this year a team to participate in the pencak silat. Pencak Silat is another combative sport which originated from Indonesia and is seen as another possible sport Cordillerans can dominate. – Georaloy I. Palao-ay