MAMBAJAO, Camiguin Island: For the first time in 20 years, the island province of Camiguin will host the opening of the Northern Mindanao Regional Athletic Association (NMRAA) this year, the Department of Education (DepED) announced Wednesday.
More than 7,000 athletes from the four provinces in Northern Mindanao will stay at the sprawling Pedro P. Romualdo Sports Complex in this island capital town for the week-long sports event.
The provincial DepED officials said that that delegates are the primary and secondary level athletes from private and public schools in Northern Mindanao.
The five-day NMRAA would spread the holding of the other athletic events in other municipal towns of the island province.
Consisting of 14 divisions from the region’s five provinces and nine cities, the athletes would see action in basketball, taekwondo, softball, gymnastics, chess, sepak takraw, swimming, badminton, volleyball, arnis, archery, boxing, billiards, para games, among others.
Rosalio Vitorillo, athletic manager for the Cagayan De Oro’s 461 players, said the city’s athletes hope to harvest, at least, 100 of the 300 gold medals at stake in this year’s regional meet.
He said that the Cagayan De Oro athletes would like to break its record of 93 gold wins in the NMRAA meet in Oroquita City, Misamis Occidental in 2015.
“As the overall champion of the 2015 regional NMRAA meet, expectation was high for the Cagayan De Oro City athletes to defend the crown, Vitorillo said in an interview.
He said that the Cagayan De Oro athletes had added a new player in the field of wushu upon learning that wushu was among the new event included in this year’s NMRAA meet.
“We began to train a handful of athletes right away in November by picking out the wushu players from those who have been trained in taekwondo as an added advantage,” Vitorillo said.
According to Vitorillo, Cagayan De Oro had gold medalists in arnis, boxing, and taekwondo during the Albay City meet last April.
The Northern Mindanao region is composed of Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Bukidnon, Camiguin, and Lanao Del Norte.