STA. Cruz, Laguna: Five gold medals are at stake today in medal-rich athletics as the 57th Palarong Pambansa formally opens at the sprawling Laguna Sports Complex in Barangay Bubukal here.
Hostilities in medal-rich athletics actually started on Sunday with already six finals events at the LSC track oval. Exciting actions resume at 4 pm today as the athletes from 17 regions throughout the country compete in the finals of the elementary boy triple jump, boys and girls special game in shotput, elementary girls shot put, boys and
girls special game 100-m dash and secondary boys triple jump.
Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, who is also a Representative from the lone district of Sarangani, is one of three speakers in the opening rites set at 8 a.m. Others guests are Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director-general Joel Villanueva and former president and current Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
Two-time Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) MVP James Yap, a product of the Palarong Pambansa, Sochi Winter Olympian Michael Martinez, Enchong Dee and Jericho Ejercito will light the symbolic fire of Peace and Brotherhood.
Also joining the opening rites, which bear the theme “Sports is a Way of Life” are Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia, Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco and DepEd secretary Armin Luistro.
The best students-athletes from both private and public elementary and secondary schools will see action in 27 sports events, four demonstration sports and two special games spread over 16 venues with the 19-hectare Laguna Sports Complex in Santa Cruz as the main hub.
Gov. Jeorge “E.R.” Ejercito said that they are deploying sufficient medical teams throughout 37 billeting schools and venues to take care of their health needs and 400 policemen as well as 800 peace volunteers to insure the safety of all athletes, officials and guests.