CITY OF ILAGAN, Philippines – A farmer’s son in Barangay Santa Isabel Norte here got the silver medal in boy’s high jump on the first day of the 12th Southeast Asia Youth Athletics Championships currently being held at the City of Ilagan Sports Complex in Isabela province.
Wally Gacusan, a 17-year-old student of Santa Isabel National High School representing the Philippine team, has made his hometown proud after landing in second place.
“It is really a very tough challenge to beat an international opponent, more practice and experience is needed,” Gacusan told reporters.
Meanwhile, Vo Ngoc Long Cao, a tall and sleek youth representing the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, bagged the gold medal of the said event.
As of noon Monday, March 27, Vietnam already amassed 4 gold medals. The other 3 golds medals came from winning the Javelin throw girls, 800-meters for girls, and 3000-meters for girls.
Inspired by the challenge, City of Ilagan Mayor Evelyn C. Diaz announced Monday noon that if anyone among the 32 Ilagan athletes participating in the 12th SEA Youth and the 2017 National Open would get a medal, she will give P10,000 incentive for gold, P8,000 for silver, and P5,000 for bronze.
The opening ceremonies of the 12th SEA Youth Athletics on Sunday night, March 26, has drawn over 5,000 people jam-packed at this city’s sports complex while thousands more were seated in bleachers located in other parts of the facility.
The Department of Education (DepEd) has organized cultural presentations performed by dance troupes of selected high schools of Ilagan City. The audience loudly cheered the group who performed the Tinikling folk dance of the Philippines. Traditional dances of eight other participating countries were also presented.
In her speech, DepEd Regional Director Estela Cariño emphasized the role of sports in molding the youth. Cariño proudly acknowledged the DepEd Division of Isabela for having sports as a formal education track.
City Mayor Evelyn C. Diaz proudly announced to the world Ilagan City’s readiness to be a major sports hub among ASEAN countries.
“We believe that sports can enrich our lives and help us prepare for the challenges of the future. And as early as your age, our dear athletes, you, the youth must be educated how sports can strengthen our bond as one Southeast Asian Community,” Diaz said in her speech.
POC Chairman Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuanco and PATAFA President Philip Ela Juico who were scheduled to give keynote messages missed the opening program.
The formal opening program was capped by a 5-minute fireworks display and the lighting of the ceremonial torch. It was followed by a variety show featuring celebrities Paolo Avelino and Christine Reyes which sustained the audience until 9:00 o’clock in the evening. Abe Almirol/Northernforum.net