MIMAROPA athletes overcome funding issues for Palaro 2014
Laguna, Philippines—Are the athletes ready to fight for the highly coveted gold medals?
With just one week left before opening ceremonies, the country’s biggest sporting event, Palarong Pambansa 2014, has set the stage to welcome the nation’s next generation of sports heroes. The province of Laguna, which will host the 2014 Games, will welcome more than 10,000 delegates from 17 regions in the country.
Several delegates have already arrived in Laguna to prepare for the week-long sports activities which will take place from May 4-10, 2014. Among them were athletes-contingent from Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Region VII and Region IV-B (MIMAROPA).
The MIMAROPA representatives are now training hard to prepare themselves for different events. Last 2013, MIMAROPA bagged the championship title in football sports event both in elementary and secondary level.
Will they be able to defend their championship title in football?
MIMAROPA has a total of 400 athletes in this year’s Palarong Pambansa. Their delegates were among those who arrived early at the venue to prepare with rigid training with their respective coaches.
According to Ms. Arlene dela Vega, MIMAROPA Regional Head for Sports Events and Activities, their delegates have been preparing for the competition for two weeks now.
“Mag two weeks lang talaga kami nagkaroon ng rigid trainings since our region is composed of several islands, it was hard for us to meet in one place para sa training,” said Dela Vega.
(We only had rigid trainings for two weeks now. Since our region is composed of several islands, it was hard for us to meet in one place for trainings.)
To defend their championship title in football, their players were trained by their coaches for almost a year.
“Trainings we had for our football players were different. We want to defend our championship title in that event so we made sure that our players were focused and concentrated,” added Dela Vega.
Asked if they have a greater chance in winning Palaro this year, “We hope so... though we had few weeks of training.”
There were still delegates from MIMAROPA who are yet to arrive. Their delegates from Calapan Mindoro, most of whom are swimmers, will be arriving on April 30 as they wrap up their preparations.
“Sa April 30 pa dadating ang mga swimmers namin kasi doon sa Calapan sila nag te-training kasi nandoon yung swimming area nila. Babayad pa kasi kami dito kapag dito pa sila sa Laguna,” explained Dela Vega.
(Our swimmers will be arriving on April 30. They are having their trainings in Calapan. If they will come here in Laguna earlier, we will need to pay for swimming pool for their training venues.)
Aside from rigid training, just getting to the venue also poses a major problem to some delegates, particularly those who have to cross the ocean.
"Siguro naging problema din namin dito sa pasimula ng palaro ay ang pagpunta mismo dito sa Laguna. Since most of our delegations were from Palawan, which is a tourist destination here in the country, kailangan pa namin makipag unahan sa mga flights going to Manila. Most of the domestic flights were fully booked,” said Dela Vega.
(One of the problems we encountered was getting into Laguna. Since most of us were from Palawan, which is a tourist destination here in the country, we need to vie for flights going to Manila. Most of the domestic flights were fully booked.)
Lack of funding from the government has been always an issue for far-off regions in national events like this.
“Siguro when it comes to funding, kulang talaga pero we have to make it sure na magkakasya ito. ‘Yung kulang na funds ay sa local government unit na nanggagaling,” added Dela Vega.
(Lack of funding from the government posed a major problem but then we have to make sure that it will suffice all the expenses. The local government units filled the inadequate funds.)
The financial support from the government has been earmarked for the travel expenses allowances of the athletes. When they arrived in Laguna last Sunday (April 20), they had to look for low cost training venues for the different events.
“We are thankful for some of the NGO’s in MIMAROPA extended their help in our delegations,” said Dela Vega.
The Smash Club, a group of table tennis players in Marinduque, helped MIMAROPA table tennis delegations in their trainings. They also bought some equipment like table tennis rackets and balls.
For the past nine years, the National Capital Region topped the Palarong Pambansa. Ms. Arlene dela Vega has high hopes that they will get the overall championship this time. They placed 8th last year despite being among the regions who had the smallest delegation. – with reports from Noli Magsambol III/Rappler.com