EVRAA Meet 2016 opening ceremony.
EVRAA Meet 2016 opening ceremony.

ORMOC CITY, Leyte, Feb. 1 (PNA) — Almost 7,000 student athletes and technical officials converged at the Ormoc Sports Complex for the opening ceremonies of the Eastern Visayas Regional Athletic Association (EVRAA) meet on Sunday.

Braving the blazing afternoon sun, the participants and thousands of spectators witnessed what EVRAA veterans described as one of the best opening rites for the meet.

The holding of the school-based sports event is done by virtue of Republic Act 10588 or the Palarong Pambansa of Act of 2013 which mandates the state to promote physical education, encourage sports programs and lead competitions including training for national competitions.

EVRAA serves as a training ground of local athletes for the Palarong Pambansa, the Department of Education’s (DepEd) premier sporting event.

This year’s theme for the EVRAA meet is “Creating Opportunities, Accelerating Success for Sports Development through K-12.” Thirteen delegations will compete in 22 events – 17 regular and five demo sports – to be held in 25 playing venues around the city.

The regular sports are archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, chess, football, gymnastics,sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis and volleyball. The demo sports, on the other hand, are billiards, wrestling, wushu, futzal and sepak takraw for girls.

The biggest delegation comes from Tacloban City with 612 members consisting of 445 athletes, 68 coaches, 87 officials and 12 chaperons. It is also the consistent champion of the annual meet since 2011.

Ormoc, on the other hand, placed 3rd on 2013 and 2015. EVRAA was canceled in 2014 after super typhoon Yolanda.

The other delegates come from the cities of Baybay, Borongan, Calbayog, Catbalogan and Maasin as well as the provinces of Biliran, Samar, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte and Southern Leyte. They are billeted at 12 schools for the entire duration of the games until Feb. 5.

DepEd Regional Director Luisa Yu in her speech described 2015 as a milestone for EVRAA when it had a leap in ranking from the previous years of 17th place.

“This changed in 2014 when the association’s rank climbed to 14th despite the cancellation of the EVRAA meet that year,” Yu said. The rank further rose to 11th place in 2015.

“This shows that we are constantly improving in the field of athletics. This is the challenge for us since we need to sustain our increasing performance,” Yu added.

She also thanked  for accepting the challenge to host this year’s meet. (PNA)