IT’S DAVAO: Davao City gets Palaro 2019 hosting

Chalk that in next year’s calendar. The biggest sports showpiece in the country is coming to town.

The Palarong Pambansa Board has officially voted in favor of Davao City to be the host of the 2019 Palarong Pambansa, the nation’s premier Olympic-style sports competition featuring the best among elementary and high school athletes. Davao City bested two other presenters in the bidding conducted a day before the opening of the 2018 Palarong Pambansa. General Santos City, perhaps the strongest challenger to Davao’s bid owing to its experience in hosting the Palaro, did not present.

Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones formally announced the bidding result in a press conference held in Vigan City on Saturday.

Davao City has been eyeing the Palarong Pambansa hosting for next year and has in fact fast tracked the completion of the sports complex project at the University of the Philippines-Mindanao while relying on the newly-built facility of the University of Mindanao as the other major venue. No less than Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is spearheading Davao’s push for the event’s hosting.

This year, Ilocos Sur’s capital city is hosting Palarong Pambansa from April 15-21 with the different events mounted in multiple venues around the city and nearby towns.

President Duterte, as of this writing, was set to attend the opening ceremonies to be held at the President Elpidio Quirino Stadium in Bantay town on Sunday where more than 12,000 young Filipino athletes from all over the country are expected to take part.

A total of 1,311 medals will be given out in the regular sporting events of the weeklong Palarong Pambansa 2018 that will begin on Sunday. Some 815 medals will be presented to winning participants in the high school division, and the remaining 496 to those in the elementary division.

There will be 241 golds, 241 silvers, and 333 bronze medals to be awarded in the secondary games while in the elementary division, a total of 156 golds, 156 silvers, and 184 bronzes are at stake.

Athletics and swimming remain the most medal-rich events and delegations are expected to cash in on these two events if they wish to make a run for the general championship. There will be a total of 198 medals will be for athletics, making it the most medal-rich sport this year. Another 180 medals will be for swimming, even as 158 more will be given out in arnis and 152 in taekwondo.

Aerobic gymnastics, dance sports, and pencak silat will make their debut this year as demonstration sports.