03 December 2014
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A contingent of 37 young athletes, 14 coaches and sports and government officials from Mindanao will be participating in the 8th BIMP-EAGA Friendship Games in Labuan, Malaysia from December 6 to 10, in efforts to strengthen cross-border links through sports among the member-countries of the economic sub-region.
The delegation, who left for Labuan on Wednesday is led by Davao City Deputy Sports Chief Ma. Goldi Delvo. Two delegations from the City of Puerto Princesa and the Province of Palawan also left for Labuan on the same day, totalling the Philippine contingent to 122 athletes and coaches.
“Our athletes will compete in five major sports events of the Friendship Games, which include basketball, beach volleyball, sepak takraw, badminton, and athletics,” said Delvo during the delegation’s send-off held at the conference hall of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
All participating athletes are within the 15-21 age group, and were selected through a series of try-outs conducted and supported by the Davao City government.
Mindanao raked in 11 gold medals and subsequently ranked third during the 7th BIMP-EAGA Friendship Games, held in General Santos and Koronadal City in December 2012. The Palawan contingent on the other hand secured seven gold medals during the sports event.
“This year, we urge you to win the games, earn new friends, and promote Mindanao,” said MinDA Executive Director Usec. Janet Lopoz. MinDA serves as the Philippine Coordinating Office for BIMP-EAGA.
BIMP-EAGA stands for Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area. The initiative was launched in 1994 as a key strategy to accelerate social and economic development of less developed areas in participating countries.
She added that more social and cultural exchanges can be expected within the sub-region, after the recent adoption of the socio-cultural and education pillar for BIMP-EAGA.
The BIMP-EAGA Friendship Games is a biennial event of the sub-region, which aims to bring together people from all cultures and races to encourage harmony among BIMP-EAGA member countries through sports.
“Beyond the friendly competition, we also see this activity as a refreshing way of coordinating with the other governments from EAGA to tackle other concerns besides trade and commerce, like culture and sports,” said Gerardo Reynaldo, chief of MinDA’s South Central Mindanao Area Office, and MinDA representative to this year’s Friendship Games.