Glitches and glory at Palaro in Antique
ANTIQUE, Iloilo – "You saw it. You witnessed how beautiful the opening ceremony was. It has been a huge success," Education Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali said in a press conference on Tuesday, April 25, in Antique province.
He emphasized that a lot of records have been broken at the Palarong Pambansa 2017 since it kicked off on Sunday, April 23, with no less than President Rodrigo Duterte attending the opening ceremony:
- Jerald Jacinto broke his own established record in the elimination round earlier on Tuesday as he finished the 100-meter backstroke event in 59.64 seconds.
- The 200-meter medley relay was also broken twice on April 26 as Jacinto, Drew Magbag, Andrei Pogiongko, and Ianiko Limfilipino sealed a 1:52 record.
- In her 4th attempt, Sylvian Faith Abunda achieved a new record of 42.85 meters in the secondary girls javelin throw.
The list continues.
But despite its "successful" opening program and the smashed records, the biggest sporting event in the country has faced challenges in the past two days.
During the opening program on Sunday, April 23, many athletes who suffered from heat stroke and exhaustion had to be taken off the field in stretchers. Based on the local heat index tracked by Project NOAH, the temperature went up to as high as 34.7 degrees Celsius at around 1 pm on Sunday.
The grand kick-off was held beginning at noon despite the summer heat to accommodate the arrival of Duterte, according to local authorities, the Inquirer reported.
Duterte's attendance was historic because he was the first President, in his or her first year in office, to grace the biggest sporting event in the country, the Department of Education (DepEd) earlier said.
Meanwhile, on Monday, April 24, many athletes were also rushed to the hospital after sustaining injuries during their games.
“It is tough, but we’re not offering any excuse. Isang bata na maaring mangailangan ng medical attention ay napakarami po para sa atin," DepEd's Umali said in a press conference on April 25.
(It’s tough but we’re not offering any excuses. A kid who needs medical attention is already too much for us.)
Rain disrupts games
When it rains, it pours at Palaro. While the temperature drop on Tuesday provided relief for athletes in outdoor sports events, some games had to be halted because of the rain.
The football game that was scheduled to be held at the University of Antique football field was canceled after the venue was flooded.
"The University of Antique field got flooded and was declared unplayable by the tournament manager," Antique provincial local officer Arthur Lastimoso said during the same press conference.
The schedule of football games at both Binirayan Complex and Anthony’s College will be adjusted, Lastimoso added.
While the local weather forecast suggested it would be sunny in Antique on Wednesday, April 26, the province is expected to experience light to moderate rain on Thursday and Friday.
“We’ve been doing this for years. We can make adjustments,” Umali said, assuring athletes the situation is still manageable.
There are still a lot of things that need to be fixed, but the games will proceed, Lastimosa said.
‘No protest to date’
DepED also addressed the disagreement between the secondary football teams of Northern Mindanao and the National Capital Region over the postponement of their game on Monday night, April 24.
“There’s no official protest filed,” Umali clarified. “Ang nangyari lang may di sumang-ayon sa nangyari, no official protest was filed (What happened was, someone disagreed with what happened but no official protest was filed),” he added.
On Monday night, the NCR team backed out from the game due to poor lighting at the Binirayan Stadium. Because of this, their opponent, the Northern Mindanao team, insisted they should be declared winner by default.
"Let us set the records straight. The NCR boys were on the field as early as 5 pm, and in fact did their warm-up routine. When the lights were turned on for their 6 pm match, the tournament manager noticed the poor lighting in the football field, and thus called for a meeting. After getting the consensus of the coaches...they all agreed to cancel their games to protect the boys from unwanted injuries," lawyer Boni Tacardon said in a comment to Rappler's story.
It was decided that the game between Northern Mindanao and NCR would be postponed to Wednesday, April 26. – Rappler.com