|Zamboanga City native and national weightlifter Hidylin Diaz rounds the Joaquin F. Enriquez Jr. Memorial Sports Complex track oval before lighting the urn of the 2011 PRISAA National Games in Zamboanga City.
MANILA, Philippines – The 2011 Private Schools Athletic Association (PRISAA) National Games goes into high gear on Sunday with all 18 sports kicking off at the Joaquin F. Enriquez Jr. Memorial Sports Complex and other venues in Zamboanga City.
The centerpiece events of athletics and swimming led the day’s hectic program, a statement from the organizers said.
Fourteen gold medals – 12 individual and 2 relays – will be up for grabs in the swimming competitions, while track field will mostly have heats in majority of the sportsfest.
The picturesque seaport city plays host to 5 straight days of games that features 3,000 university and college athletes nationwide and attended by officials from the country's 16 regions.
Zamboanga hosts games
PRISAA national chairman Emmanuel Angeles lauded Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat for offering to host the PRISAA National Games for the fourth time since it was revived it 1991. “He (Lobregat) truly is a consummate sportsman PRISAA has learned to rely on,” Angeles said.
Zamboanga previously played host to the OIympic-style collegiate sports showcase in 1993, 2005 and 2008.
“We have staged this sportsfest thrice before so we are aware of the requirements in hosting an event of this magnitude,” project director Elbert Atilano Sr. said, adding that they only had 3 months to prepare for the games.
No NCR rep
Only the National Capital Region (NCR) is not represented in the meet, which was shelved last year to give way to the CHED National Games. In 2010, the death of NCR PRISAA president and UE sports director Bren Perez left a leadership vacuum in NCR.
“Hopefully, NCR will return in next year’s edition of the PRISAA Games once they have reorganized,” said Angeles.
The absence of the Big City bets has left the other powerhouse contingents like Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Southern Tagalog keen on contesting major honors in the meet sponsored by Globe, Pepsi, Nature Spring and Bombo Radyo.