GUINOBATAN, Philippines – Last year, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) lorded over boys wrestling as they snatched the overall championship with two golds, a silver, and a bronze.
But it’s a different story this year as Eastern Visayas has won the majority of the championships in the 42-kg, 46-kg, and 58-kg weight classes. CAR settled for bronze in the thise weight classes. Meanwhile, NCR became the champion for the 50-kg division while Ilocos Region reigned supreme for 54-kg.
Mark Sumalag, one of the coaches for the CAR wrestling team, accepted their fate.
“Ginawa naman nila siguro yung best nila pero ganun yung laro,” he said. (They have perhaps done their best but that’s how the game goes.)
Despite losing their top position, Sumalag is happy that more regions participated this year as it made the matches more interesting.
“Napalaban kami sa una, sa susunod naman baka malakas rin yung kalaban mo. Iba talaga pag marami,” Sumalag explained. (We went all out at first, then in the next matches our competitor may be as strong. It’s different when there’s plenty of competition.)
There were 12 regions that participated in various wrestling matches this year, an increase from last year’s 9.
Road to regularization
Since its debut in the 2014 Palarong Pambansa, the Department of Education (DepEd) has been working hard to ensure the sport becomes a regular event. While CAR has been pushing for wrestling in the grassroots level.
Marlene Basungit, also a wrestling coach for CAR, said they’ll need DepEd’s support.
“Kung ipu-push namin na doon sa baba kung hindi naman sila tumutulong, wala naman gagawin. It’s better na manggaling sa kanila,” Basungit said. (If we are pushing it in the grassroots level but they won’t support us there, nothing will happen. It’s better if it will come from them.)
Meanwhile, tournament manager Victor Pinlac said they are making sure the technical officials and the rules are polished.
“Right now, we’re trying to upgrade the technical competencies of our teachers so I guess we are meeting our targets,” he said.
One factor DepEd considers in order to greenlight wrestling would be their post-tournament evaluation of the capability of technical officials during the event.
This year, Pinlac also made sure the event was well-promoted.
“This year, we had a few seminars conducted in Region 6 (Western Visayas) and in Caraga. This coming year we also have a few seminars coming, all sponsored by the Department of Education.”
Fifteen-year-old Cherton Solimen from Irisan National High School in Baguio City hopes they’ll be given additional chances despite only getting bronze in the 58-kg weight class.
“Ayos lang. babawi na lang sa next [na Palaro]” Solimen said. (It’s alright. I’ll redeem myself next time.)
Solimen competed in the Palaro for the first time and hopefully it won’t be his last. – Rappler.com
Randall Matthew Lorayes is a Rappler intern on his third year in AB Broadcasting in Bicol University.
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