Soccsksargen Regional Athletic Association (SRAA) is targeting to get at least 35 gold medals in the 2018 Palarong Pambansa in Vigan City.
Magdaleno Duhilag, sports coordinator of the Department of Education-Region 12, said Friday this projection is nine more than the region’s 26 gold medal haul in last year’s Palaro in Antique.
He said they are confident of meeting and even surpassing such target due to the strong performance of their athletes during the three-week training for the Palaro.
“Our athletes have properly trained and will be very competitive when the games start on Sunday,” Duhilag said.
As in the previous Palaro, the official said they expect to compete anew for the gold medals in athletics events, arnis, archery, taekwondo and swimming.
The SRAA delegation, also known as the “Soccsksargen Warriors,” finished fifth in the overall standing last year with 26 golds, 22 silvers and 35 bronze medals.
A total of 1,131 medals are at stake in the 23 regular sports events, 14 in elementary and 19 in secondary, in this year’s national games.
Duhilag said they are hoping to maintain its second place finish in the elementary level last year and significantly improve on its 11th ranking in the secondary level.
He said they expect the competition to be tougher this year despite the dissolution of the Negros Island Region (NIR).
NIR edged SRAA for fourth place in the overall standings last year by only four silvers and one bronze medal.
The official said this year’s Palaro will also test the effectiveness of the enhanced preparation training program introduced by Olympian Henry Dagmil.
Dagmil, who hails from South Cotabato province, supervised the training of the region’s athletes in the last three years.
For this year, Duhilag said they scrapped the rigid formula in favor of the preparation training system.
He said the training program, which limited actual practices to four hours a day, was conducted in three phases and included sessions on sports counselling, stress management, nutrition and conditioning.
“We carefully studied our previous programs and found out that our athletes were quite exhausted because of the long practice hours. We balanced our program and considered it more advantageous now compared to the rigid training,” he added. (HST/PNA)