CITY OF ILAGAN, Isabela — Police operatives in Cagayan Valley region have been helping each other secure at least 300 foreign and Filipino athletes who have started to engage in battle for 18 sports events today (March 27) until March 28 for the 12th South East Asia Youth Games and for the Philippine Open Athletic Championship on March 29 to April 2 at the Ilagan City Sports Complex here.
Police Senior Supt. Reynaldo Garcia, Isabela police acting director, has ordered an accounting of security contingents from 2nd Regional Public Safety Battalion and police members from Cagayan, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Santiago City, Cauayan City and Isabela as they have been deployed to secure foreign and local athletes in the two international competitions being held here.
SEA Games athletes, upon arriving at the hotels wherein they were billeted, started practicing at the sports venue on Sunday, according to Ilagan City information officer Paul Bacungan.
Foreign athletes from Timor Leste, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Iraq, Guam, Sri Lanka, and the Philippine team arrived one after the other at their assigned hotels, Bacungan added.
Among the popular local athletes competing for the events are Olympian Eric Cray, Caleb Stuart, Donovant Arriola, Tyler Ruiz and Trenten Beram.
Competition started at 8 a.m. on Monday with the 3,000-meter run and high jump finals (boys) followed by the 3,000-meter run finals (girls), long jump finals (boys), javelin throw finals (girls), 100-meter finals (girls), discus throw finals (boys), 800-meter run finals and 100-meter run (boys).
Organizers have set the competition hours from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 to 5:20 p.m. for inside games while open field games would be until 8 in the evening to protect the athletes from the scorching heat.
Thailand, the defending champion, hosted the South East Asian Youth Athletics Championship last year. Filipinos tallied a gold, a silver and a bronze during the competition.
Philip Ella Juico, Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president, said he is upbeat that the events would bolster development of homegrown athletes in future events, aside from the help extended by the local government units and private partners. Villamor Visaya Jr/PNA-northboundasia.com