BAGUIO CITY – Degending Baguio City will have its hands full in trying to regain the overall title as the 2016 Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association formally kicks off at the Baguio Athletic Bowl with thousands of athletes and coaches in attendance from all over the region.
The Summer Capital kicks off its title retention bid as it eyes to surpass the 197-92-67 medal haul in last year’s edition which Baguio also hosted.
Department of Education – Baguio School Sports Coordinator Fernando Eliponga said the city is set to retain the over-all crown anew and as the educational center, there are a lot of potential athletes who are studying in city which also has the facilities and the best coaches to train them.
Eliponga said Baguio is expected to excel in combative sports and other individual sports including swimming but faces challenge in batted sports.
Ifugao, which frog leaped to third place over-all is once again expected to maintain its standing while Benguet, who has been a runner-up in the annual sports event is also seen to challenge Baguio’s dominance in the regional meet.
Ifugao has allotted P5 million to fund the various expenditures of the province in preparation for the regional athletic event while Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. has asked his province mates to support the athletes as he acknowledged the team has showed vast improvement in their performance leaping to third place.
Baguilat added he will continue to encourage the sportsmen and women by supporting sports development programs, sponsor the training of the athletes and give moral support during competitions.
Mountain Province, which dropped to fifth is hoping to reclaim its third over-all standing after Governor Leonard Mayaen increased the budget for CARAA from 3 million to P4.3 million this year, P3,517,907 of which was provided by the provincial government through its annual appropriation. The ten municipal local government units chipped in P400,000 while the division office of the Department of Education contributed P368,000. Of the total budget, P1,148,360 was allocated for the training of athletes.
Provincial Sports Development Officer Arnaldo Petten is confident that Mountain Province athletes will come up with an impressive showing in this year’s regional athletic meet as they started their training just after the provincial athletic meet.
The provincial government has also hired 18 trainers in a job order status to prepare and train the athletes in different competed events.
The hired trainers will be training athletes in the combative, individual, and team sports particularly boxing, taekwondo, wushu, wrestling, lawn tennis, athletics, arnis, badminton, table tennis, gymnastics, football/ futsal and volleyball.
Mountain Province will be sending 180 athletes in the elementary level, 266 athletes in the secondary, 144 coaches and trainers, 27 honorary officials and 77 delegation officials.
Apayao, on the other hand, after a decent fourth place finish will try to duplicate the feat with their 21-35-52 medal haul coming athletics, arnis and seeks to defend the basketball secondary girls’ crown. Abra and Kalinga, after finishing sixth and seventh last year hopes to have a decent finish in the weeklong regional sports meet which ends February 10. By Dexter A. See