2011 Palarong Pambansa opens
Dapitan City is best known for being the place where national hero Dr. Jose Rizal was exiled in 1892 to 1896.
Once more, the place, also known as the Shrine City, will be put in the national map as it hosts the 2011 Palarong Pambansa, which gets underway starting today.
A grand opening will kick start the week-long event with top government officials and celebrities expected to grace the opening ceremony at the Rizal Memorial State University—the main venue of the event.
Earlier reports had it that Vice-President Jejomar Binay, singer-actress Sarah Geronimo and song and dance girl group Mocha will grace the opening ceremony.
Around 8,000 athletes from 17 regions will vie for top honors led by perennial champion National Capital Region (NCR).
NCR has been dominating the Palarong Pambansa for the past years owing to its powerhouse lineup led by athletes from the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Athletes from Central Visayas (CV) face a daunting task of improving its fourth-place last year.
Bernard Ricablanca, athletics director of the University of Cebu (UC), said the region expects the bulk of its medals to come from the athletics, table tennis and badminton events. UC has 33 athletes in the CV delegation.
The CV athletes have been in Dapitan since two weeks ago to acclimatize themselves to the different venues scattered around Dapitan and Dipolog cities.
Organizers, led by executive committee chairman and former Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo G. Jalosjos, has set aside P200 million to ensure the success of the event.
Innovations have been made for the 63rd edition of the annual event such as staking ranking points in tennis, and having live streaming and video postings of some of the games.
According to Len Toledo, consultant to the chairman of the event, organizers have the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) Region 11 to sanction the the tennis event, where competitors can earn points in the Philta points system. Tennis will be held at the the Dakak Tennis Court.
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