By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
This year, the Department of Education (DepEd) is again looking forward to seeing talented and inspiring Filipino student-athletes during the conduct of the 2018 Palarong Pambansa.
To be held from April 15 to 21 in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur province, this year’s Palarong Pambansa will once again gather thousands of student-athletes from different regions to complete in various games.
Students to look out for
Among the thousands of student-athletes that will troop to the 2018 Palaro, DepEd said a 6th grader from Abra and an 11th grader from Bukidnon are probably just two of those that other competitors need to look out for.
“Small but terrible” Izzy Tuazon, an 11-year-old Grade 6 pupil of Dalaguisen Elementary School in Lagangilang, Abra, is considered as “one of the most enduring runners” of the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) Meet 18 where she was hailed as the solo finisher of the 1,500-meter run.
Weighing barely 21 kilograms and with a height as that of a Grade 3 pupil, Tuazon has an “admirable endurance.” She dreams of becoming a nurse and an Olympic athlete.
Tuazon believes that in every race, the runner can learn more herself. “It is in doing hard things that you gain the confidence,” she said. “I was not able to do it before, so I convinced myself that I can do it this time,” she added.
As she currently trains for the 2018 Palaro, Tuazon always reminds herself and her fellow runners that perseverance, discipline, and obedience are keys to reaching goals. “In a long race, it doesn’t matter if you are the fastest, it is more important that you finish it,” she ended.
Meanwhile, delegates of this year’s Palaro have another name to look out for: Sylvian Faith Calixtro Abunda, an 11th grader at Lantapan Stand-Alone Senior High School in Poblacion, Lantapan, Bukidnon.
DepEd said Abunda is the “only player in the athletics throwing event to represent the Northern Mindanao Region this year in the country’s premier sports competition for student-athletes.” She will not only carry the three gold medals she nailed during the Northern Mindanao Regional Athletic Association (NMRAA) Meet held in Oroquieta City in December 2017 but will also bring with her the wealth of experience she gained from years of training and striving for excellence as a player in the field of athletic sports.
During the 2016 Palaro, Abunda garnered a silver medal. In 2017, she outdid herself and got a gold medal after securing the record of 42.85 meters in javelin throw. Aside from her achievements in the Palaro, she was also granted with recognition as the Most Outstanding Athlete in the Municipality of Lantapan while the Regional Office of DepEd Northern Mindanao also gave her distinction during their World Teachers’ Day celebration in 2017.
For Abunda, sports has always “been a way of life.” Aside from her vigor and stamina, her persistence, perseverance, patience and dedication enabled her to reach her goals.
Also known as the National Games, the “Palarong Pambansa” aims to promote Physical Education (PE) and sports as integral parts of basic education for the youth to become responsible and globally competitive citizens of the country.
The DepEd is mandated to promote physical education and encourage sports programs to foster self-discipline, teamwork and excellence through the conduct of annual Palarong Pambansa, which is pursuant to Republic Act 10588, otherwise known as the “Palarong Pambansa Act of 2013.”
The annual “Palaro” also targets to widen the bases for talent identification, selection, recruitment, training and exposure for elementary and secondary students to serve as athletes’ roster of the National Sports Associations (NSAs) for international competitions. Furthermore, the DepEd said the event will “provide a database for valid and universal basis to further improve the school sports development program.