Marikina ready to host ASEAN Schools Games
MARIKINA CITY, Philippines - The ASEAN Schools Games is an annual regional sports competition that fosters camaraderie through sports among its member countries - Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The Philippines will host the games for the first time from November 30 to December 7. David Lozada reports on the preparations being done by host city of Marikina and the Department of Education.
Can sports bridge different cultures?
Now on its 6th year, Marikina City hosts this year's ASEAN Schools Games. The games will bring together young athletes from the region who will compete in 11 sports events.
ASG director Willie Reyes says its all about building role models for the youth of Marikina.
WILLIE REYES, ASEAN SCHOOLS GAMES DIRECTOR: Siguro mae-encourage sila to be in sports kesa sa masamang bisyo like drugs and other vices na makakasama sa kanila. I think, kung makikita nila yung international delegates baka ma-inspired sila na maglaro instead of maging tambay lang. We want them to bond with each other. Yun yung dinedevelop. If you will see the opening ceremonies, may mga friendship nights. (We want to encourage the youth to be in sports instead of pursuing drugs and other vices that will harm them. If they will see international delegates and young athletes, they will be inspired to pursue sports instead of just bumming around. We want the athletes to bond with each other. We are developing intercultural relations. We have friendship nights in our programs.)
Eight of the 11 sports events will be conducted in venues around Marikina. Two will be held in Pasig while golf will be conducted in Antipolo.
Preparations for the opening ceremonies are still ongoing here in the Marikina Sports Center. The ASEAN Schools Games is the biggest international event Marikina will handle, with at least 1,500 athletes from 7 countries expected to compete. According to the organizers, hosting the games brings the city a step closer to its dream of being a center for sports excellence in the Philippines.
The city that made biking an alternative mode of transportation is going the extra mile by building facilities that meet international standards.
WILLIE REYES, ASEAN SCHOOLS GAMES DIRECTOR: We’re trying to develop sports as part of the lifestyle of Marikenos because ayun nakakatulong ka sa environment tapos nakakatipid ka, nae-exercise ka pa. (We’re trying to make sports a part of the lifestyle of Marikina residents because by doing so, you get to help the environment while saving resources and getting exercise.)
The games will run from December 1 to 5. The Philippines will be represented by champions selected by Education Department from the past Palarong Pambansa.
Beyond the competition, Marikina officials hope the games will cultivate lasting friendships across the region.
David Lozada, Rappler Marikina. – Rappler.com
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