San Jose, Antique: National Capital Region’s (NCR) overall championship title-retention bid started on the right track as gymnasts from the Big City came away with six gold medals even before the 2017 Palarong Pambansa officially kicked off here on Sunday.
Divina Sembrano anchored the NCR secondary girls individual all-round team of rhythmic gymnastics to a gold-medal finish and copped the individual gold as the Big City flexed its muscles early at the Evelio B. Javier gymnasium.
Sembrano and teammate Krystal Mae Maguidato finished 1-2 in the individual category and eventually took the gold in the team event for NCR, which has won the overall championship of this annual sportsftest in the last 12 editions.
NCR tallied 113.26 points followed by Central Visayas (100.38) and Bicol Region (82.9) in the individual all-around event of rhythmic gymnastics secondary girls.
Karl Eldrew Yulo matched Sembrano’s two-gold haul at the start of the gymnastic competition after leading the NCR elementary boys artistic gymnastic event.
Yulo, younger brother of national gymnast Carlos, topped the individual event with 9.35 points to beat Rommel Liwa of Soccsksargen Region with 8.95 points.
He teamed up with Joseph Reynaldo and Renz Castillo for the team event and garnered 92.55 points to beat Central Luzon (87.90) and Calabarzon (87.30)
NCR took its fifth gold after ruling the elementary girls artistic gymnastic event with 107.5 points but Kiana Alagaban of Negros Island Region denied the Big City of the six-gold sweep after topping the individual event.
The Big City gymnasts also ruled the secondary boys artistic gymnastics as NCR, composed of Jhon Romeo Santillan, Juancho Miguel Besana and John Ivan Cruz, tallied 96.15 points to beat Soccsksargen (88.15) and host region Western Visayas (83.3).
Actions shift to full hear on Monday as eight gold medals are at stake in the athletics competition at the Binirayan Sports Complex.
Up for grabs are the gold medals in the 3,000 meter run secondary girls, javelin throw in secondary boys and girls, shot put elementary boys and girls, triple jump elementary boys, long jump secondary boys and long jump elementary girls.
A total of 64 gold medals are at stake in the medal-rich athletics, followed by swimming with 60, tae kwon do (48), arnis (36), gymnastics (31), archery (16), badminton (16), chess (16), table tennis (16) and new events wushu (10) and wrestling (10).
Four new events are added as demo sports in this annual competition namely 2,000-meter walk in the secondary boys and girls, pencak silat, dance sports and aerobic gymnastics. Medals in these demo sports are not included in the medal tally.
President Rodrigo Duterte opened the opening rites on Sunday attended by more than 12,000 athletes and officials from the 18 participating region.
Elma Muros-Posadas and tennis ace Marian Jade Capadocia lit the cauldron also witnessed by Governor Rhodora Cadiao, Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones and the the Antiquenos, who are hosting the Palarong Pambansa for the first time in the 60-year history of the competition.
San Jose de Buenavista Mayor Elmer Untaran delivered the welcoming remarks to the guests and participants of the weeklong event.