NORTH UPI, Maguindanao – Some 5,000 student-athletes, education and technical officials gathered here for the conduct of the week-long Palarong ARMMAA (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Athletic Association) 2018, which opened Monday.
The regional Palaro runs from Feb. 12 to 16 at the sprawling grounds of the Nuro Central Elementary School here.
Rasol Y. Mitmug Jr., newly-appointed Department of Education (DepEd)–ARMM secretary, said this year’s Palaro has for its theme “Transformed and Productive ARMMians,” which focuses on the active development and transformation of the region’s young athletes.
Ricco Jame Teraytay, 16, and Andrei John Merano, 12, both delegates from Maguindanao II division and Taekwondo-gold medalists in the Palarong Pambansa 2017 held in Antique, said they were proud and honored to again represent their divisions here.
Both athletes are optimistic they would again win and bring home medals from the Palarong Pambansa this year scheduled in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur from April 16 to 20.
“Aside from all the preparations such as training, we also need self-discipline and prayers for us to reach our goals,” Teraytay added.
“To all the participants of Palarong ARMMAA 2018, I wish you all the best for the upcoming games,” Mitmug told the athletes during the games’ opening ceremony. “They (athletes) gather here not only to display their physical abilities but also to show us that through sports there can be peace and common aspiration for our ARMM youth.”
Various ARMMAA delegations came from the nine school divisions of the region namely Maguindanao I, Maguindanao II, Lanao del Sur I, Lanao del Sur II, Marawi City, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, and Lamitan City.
Athletes both from elementary and secondary schools will compete in the following sports: archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, billiard, boxing, chess, football, futsal, sepak takraw, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, volleyball, wushu, and wrestling.
Winners from the sporting events will proceed and compete at the Palarong Pambansa in Ilocos Sur.
The Palarong ARMMAA is an annual athletic event of the DepEd-ARMM involving student-athletes from the cities of Marawi and Lamitan; and the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.