ZAMBALES: Brazil Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz will grace the opening ceremony and her presence indeed serves as an inspiration to athletes taking part in the PRISAA 2017 National Games which go full blast today in 18 venues with Zambales Sports Complex in Iba serving the main hub of the weeklong sports conclave.
A product of Universidad de Zamboaga, Diaz, daughter of a tricycle driver and 2016 PSA Athlete of Year, delivers an inspiring message to encourage athletes from various colleges and universities from 17 regions to show their worth in their pet sports and have the opportunity to play for the country in future international competitions.
More than 5,000 athletes from 567 private colleges at universities are jockeying for honors in 18 sports, which carries the theme: “Building a Strong Filipino Nation through Sports” hosted for the first time by the province of Zambales.
The annual competition has two divisions – youth 17 years old below and senior 18-24 years old.
Dante de Castro, the only Filipino officiated in the Olympics in London, will handle boxing with fellow international veterans Tito Dacuma, Steve San Esteban and Darcito Teodoro.
For the first time PRISAA will use modern electronics scoring machine in weightlifting to make the scoring accurate.
Sports at stake are baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, football, sepak takraw, softball, volleyball and individual sports athletics, boxing, badminton, chess, dancesports, karatedo, swimming, table tennis, and tae kwon do.
PRISAA was originally scheduled in Cagayan but the province was severely devastated by typhoon Karen, forcing organizers to transfer to Zambales.