Visayas leg of RP Olympic Fest opens in Dumaguete
By Rachelle M. Nessia
Dumaguete City (23 July) -- The province of Negros Oriental is going all out in the preparations for the opening ceremonies of the 3rd Philippine Olympic Festival (POF) Visayas Qualifying Games today (July 23) in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.
No less than the representative of the International Olympic Committee to the Philippines, Frank Elizalde, will be among the guests who will witness the opening ceremonies of the all-Visayas qualifying games that will run from July 23 to 27 this week.
According to Nestor Ilagan, vice-chairman of the Philippine Olympic Fest Technical Committee, also expected to attend the opening event is the Chairman of the Philippine Olympic Festival Roberto Abentajado and other guests from the Philippine Sports Commission.
In a press conference held July 21 at the lobby of the Lamberto Macias Sports Complex, it was disclosed that around 1,509 athletes from all over Visayas are expected to compete in the qualifying games in Dumaguete City.
Cecilia Juneterial, who heads the POF secretariat, said Negros Oriental has the biggest contingent with more than 400 athletes representing the province in various competitions.
The other contingents are from neighboring province Negros Occidental, Iloilo City, Bohol, Aklan, Cebu, Northern Samar, Guimaras, Antique, Bacolod City, Mandaue, Tacloban and Ormoc, she added.
Junterial explained that the POF games aim to pluck out potential athletes who can best represent the country in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
The event will open at 3:00 this afternoon with a torch relay starting at the Dumaguete Boulevard, threading through the city street going to Perdices Memorial Coliseum and will inside the rubberized oval with Governor Emilio Macias II who will light the cauldron.
The opening ceremonies will be highlighted by a mass demonstration participated in by 1,000 students from Dumaguete City High School.
To accommodate the scores of athletes who will be staying in the province for the week-long sports fest, the province has upgraded local facilities in various elementary schools here as well as the Aqua Center and the Perdices Coliseum Building, said Glynda Descuatan, chairperson of the Provincial Sports Committee here in the same forum.
Negros Oriental was chosen as the site for the Visayas leg of the games because of the world-class sports facilities here, especially the newly-finished rubberized track and field at the Perdices Coliseum Stadium. (PIA) [top]