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ARMM student-athletes prepare for 2016 Palarong Pambansa

Cotabato City (February 26, 2016) – Datu Salih Khazain Rayhan and some 500 student-athletes from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will undergo intense training to prepare for this year’s national athletic meet scheduled in Legazpi City, Albay in April.

Datu Salih, a Grade 7 student from Camp Siongco National High School, bagged gold medal in the individual category of taekwondo-poomsae during the 2016 Palarong ARMM Athletic Meet held in Parang, Maguindanao.

In last year’s Palarong Pambansa, Datu Salih went toe-to-toe against his opponents from the Cordillera Administrative Region and Central Mindanao (Region XII) winning his first Palarong Pambansa gold medal in taekwondo in the individual category. He and his two other team mates won the silver medal in the team category. He was then an elementary pupil at Camp Siongco Elementary School.

The young athlete from Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao is packed with confidence in winning this year’s national competition. He said he will endure more serious trainings to get his second Palarong Pambansa gold medal.

“Determinado po talaga ako ngayon. Gagalingan ko para manalo ulit (I am very determined now. I will give my best to win again),” he said. Datu Salih has been a taekwondo athlete for more than three years now.

After days of sports competitions among student-athletes in the region, the ARMM-wide meet wrapped up on Wednesday, February 24, with the divisions of Maguindanao II and Maguindanao I emerging as over-all champions in elementary and secondary school levels, respectively.

Maguindanao II, the elementary level champion, garnered 26 gold medals, and was followed by Maguindanao I with 20 gold medals and Tawi-Tawi with 12 gold medals. In the secondary level, Maguindanao I earned 43 gold medals, followed by Maguindanao II with 28 gold medals and Lamitan City with 21 gold medals.

More than 5,000 promising athletes competed against each other in sports like basketball, volleyball, football, badminton, table tennis, sepak takraw, athletics, boxing, wushu, arnis, wrestling, taekwondo, swimming and archery. The meet harnessed the theme ‘One Team, One Dream for the Bangsamoro People.’

In the 2015 Palarong Pambansa, the region finished 14th place – two notches higher from its rank in the annual games in 2014. The ARMM delegates bagged a total of 10 medals in the regular sports and three medals in the demonstration games.

The region’s taekwondo team grabbed two gold medals, two silvers and five bronzes while the athletics team bagged another gold medal. In the demonstration games, the wushu team grabbed one silver and one bronze while the region’s beach volleyball team took home the gold medal.

The region’s Department of Education and the Regional Sports Coordinating Office are collaborating to prepare the athletes for this year’s national meet. In-house trainings will be held in Legazpi City several days before the Palarong Pambansa.

The ARMM government provides the athletes’ basic needs like food, transportation, vitamins and uniforms among others. Allowance will also be given to the athletes. (Bureau of Public Information)
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