I. Norte regains IRAA champ crown

LAOAG CITY/URDANETA CITY, March 26 — Ilocos Norte regains the overall championship crown as it dethroned defending champion Pangasinan II in the Region I Athletic Association (formerly IRAA) meet held at the Urdaneta National High School stadium here on March 18-24.

Ilocos Norte delegation team, IRAA’s perennial winner for the past nine years in a row before it lost to Pangasinan II last year, bounced back as it dominated most of the sport events amassing an overall 617.17 points at the end of the week-long games.

Coming in second was unseated defender Pangasinan II with 522.25 points, followed by Pangasinan I with 387.75 points.

(When an info broke out that Ilocos Norte had redeemed the lost IRAA championship crown, Gov. Imee Marcos swiftly congratulated the athletes, trainers, coaches and other sports officials of the province. Many Nortenians aired thru the media their praises to their hometown athletes citing their prowess, supremacy and dynamism in the recent regional sports hostilities. On the other hand, Laoag City Mayor Michael V. Farinas reportedly disliked the low rank of the city athletes as they were eclipsed by San Fernando City delegation team in the 5th place which the former held last year. He advised his sports trainers to change strategy for next year’s competition.–Theo S. Guiang).

Regional Sports Coordinator Bartolome Teneza of the Department of Education -Regional Office I, said the point system varies in every event thus point equivalent of gold, silver and bronze medals varies in the group games, ball games and individual events.

Completing the top five are La Union in fourth place with 255 points followed by San Fernando City with 163.67 points. Other delegation teams and their rank standing are Laoag City (6th place), Dagupan City) (7th place), Urdaneta City (8th place), Ilocos Sur (9th place), San Carlos City (10th place), Alaminos City (11th place), Candon City (12th place), Batac City (13th place) and Vigan City (14th place).

Teneza said it was not announced what province or city will host the R1AA next year. After hosting the recently-concluded sports meet, Urdaneta City Mayor Amadeo Perez III vowed to improve the UNHS playing field by building a swimming pool, grandstand and rubberized track oval.

As the R1AA is a prelude to the Palarong Pambansa which Pangasinan will host on May 6-12, Teneza said there will be 500 athletes from Region I to compete in the national games and a total of 600 delegates to include coaches and advisers.

Teneza told the Philippine Information Agency that special games for differently- abled school children will be integrated as part of the Palarong Pambansa in which Ilocos Region is a consistent participant together with Cebu and Davao.

“Ilocos Region is the defending champion in this category for special athletes,” he said. (ANL/VHS-PIA 1 Pangasinan)