Region’s athletes lagging behind other Pinoy student players

Feb. 11, 2014

By Mart D. Sambalud
Davao Today

TAGUM CITY— Student players in the region could barely compete with counterparts from other areas in the country, a sour note pointed out by the local Department of Education chief at the opening of  the Davao Region Athletic Association (DAVRAA) Meet last Sunday at the Sports and Tourism complex here.

Gloria Benigno, Regional Director of DepEd XI, in her speech, said that DAVRAA’s poor performance in Palarong Pambansa last year “must serve as a lesson” so that they could produce the best and competitive athletes and officials.

“Unfortunately, we failed as we ranked number 11 (out of 17 regions) in Dumaguete. I will repeat the challenge which is to have an improved performance,” Benigno stressed.

Riza (not her real name), a volleyball coach, cited the lack of updated trainings for coaches and athletes as the reason why their performance is not improving, adding that “if trainings are held, these are being done when it’s already too close  to the schedule of competition.”

“If they want us to improve our performance then they should schedule the necessary trainings earlier and come up with competent trainers to teach us. They must also improve how they conduct the trainings because they merely recycle the contents,” she said.

For a basketball coach who also requested anonymity told Davao Today that his team oftentimes relied on donations from friends, families and supporters.

“Funding is a big problem. There is lack of infrastructure and equipment for athletes. How can we have improved performance if some physical inputs like sports equipments are not adequately provided and are often primitive compared to our strong competitors?” he lamented.

Another problem attributed to poor performance shared by the two coaches is the lack of specialization.

Other regions have their own “sports identity”, for instance, the National Capital Region is known for producing swimmers.

“I think it is high time that we must have a sports specialization in DAVRAA,” Riza said.

Meanwhile, DepEd’s Benigno has ordered rigid trainings after the DAVRAA meet. She said “this time we will be changing some of the ways by which we do things around because if we adopt the same methods we will still get the same results.”

Benigno said trainings for athletes and coaches who are qualified for Palarong Pambansa 2014 will begin immediately after the DAVRAA Board convened and discussed the details.

“We will not allow you to join any other trainings or activities like what happened last year,”Benigno said.

DAVRAA is conducted annually as the biggest school-based athletic events in Davao region.

In last year’s Palarong Pambansa 2013 held at Dumaguete City, DAVRAA which represented Region XI ranked 11 out of 17 regions in the country.  DAVRAA garnered only 12 gold, 11 silver and 20 bronze medals with a general championship points of 84.5.

Last Sunday’s DAVRAA opening was attended by over 5,000 guests, jam-packing the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex as they watched the colorful and vibrant presentations during the opening ceremony.  (Mart D. Sambalud/

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