CAMIGUIN, Philippines – The athletic competitions organized by a group of state universities and colleges in Mindanao had become the training ground for a number of athletes who have joined local and international sports competitions, a public school official said.
“We have been producing athletes who competed in international games. Many of them had been chosen and became part of the Philippine Team and played in various international tournaments,” said Dr. Nelson Cabral, management committee chairman of the Mindanao Association of State Tertiary Schools (Masts) Saturday (Nov. 29).
Cabral said he considered Masts Friendship Games as a training ground for future Mindanaoan athletes who can compete in international tourneys, adding their organization has been training and preparing student athletes to compete both in local and international sporting events.
Cabral is also the president of the Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College, one of the government-run tertiary education institutions that participated in the 30th Masts Friendship Games held in this province from Nov. 24 to 29.
In this year’s friendship games, Surigao del Sur State University (SDSSU) was proclaimed the over-all champion bagging 75 gold medals, 30 silver medals, and 53 bronze medals. The school won in 22 out of 24 events.
Western Mindanao State University emerged as the 1st runner up with 47 gold, 27 silver, and 29 bronze medals while Bukidnon State University was proclaimed 2nd runner-up with 46 gold, 57 silver, and 47 bronze medals. Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College was the 3rd runner-up with 34 gold, 11 silver, and six bronze medals, and Central Mindanao University was the 4th runner up with 33 gold, 14 silver, and 29 bronze medals.
Jillard Mercado, sports coordinator of SDSSU Cantilan campus, said their rigid training coupled with dedication paid off.
“We really did our best. That contributed to our victory,” Mercado told reporters on the sideline of the Masts 2019 awarding ceremonies at Mambajao Cultural Center Saturday night.
During the closing ceremonies, a pageant was also held. Ivanne Jairon Melendez of Central Mindanao University and Cathleen Angelie Abler of University of Southern Mindanao were adjudged as Mr. Masts 2019 and Ms. Masts 2019, respectively.
Meanwhile, Camiguin Gov. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo has encouraged the athletes not just to excel in sports but to focus on their academics, as well.
“You should finish your studies. Don’t waste your time. If you graduate, it will raise your stature in life,” he advised.
The governor said this was the second time Camiguin hosted a huge sporting event. In 2017, the island-province was the venue of the Northern Mindanao Regional Athletic Meet.
Romualdo said they will be making the necessary preparations if Camiguin will win the bid to host the nationwide State Colleges and Universities Athletic Association games in 2022.
The challenge, he shared, was on how to accommodate the thousands of delegates. He added, though, he is confident the province will be able to take in more visitors once the 200-room hotel and resort will be completed months from now. (davaotoday.com)