Team Visayas begins drive for 4th-A A +A
Thursday, October 18, 2012
A LANKY, six-foot taekwondo jin, who always get mistaken for a basketball player, traveled by himself to Cebu to join 300 athletes as they start their journey to Marikina to help Team Visayas win an unprecedented fourth straight overall title of the Milo Little Olympics national finals, which opens today at the Marikina Sports Center.
Jowencel Escoyo is the only national qualifier from Cadiz and he is a first-timer in the national finals. Little did he know that a lot of burden has been laid on him.
“I am more confident now especially because we are getting reinforced by taekwondo jins and track athletes from Western Visayas,” said Cebu organizer Ricky Ballesteros.
The Western Visayas athletes joined the regional qualifying for the first time and right off the bat, made their commanding presence felt, including Escoyo and eight others from Bacolod City and track athletes from Iloilo.
Escoyo, who studies at the Dr. Vicente F. Gustillo Memorial National High School, said there is pressure in not just bringing home a gold medal to his school but also to deliver for Team Visayas.
“I went through a lot to get to this point so my only goal for this tournament is to win a gold. I want to contribute to Team Visayas’ win,” said Escoyo.
In yesterday’s press conference in Marikina, NCR head Dr. Roberto Calo vowed to do
everything in their power to prevent Team Visayas from winning this year.
“Dr. Calo said that in the past three editions, the margin of points between Team Visayas and NCR was very slim, so they will do everything in their power to win this year, especially since they are playing in their own turf,” said Ballesteros.
Ballesteros said that Team Visayas’ secret to winning was determination and the spirit to win.
“We are not about to lose that drive in us. Our kids are very much raring to win.
Winning this year would be doubly sweet because it means we will win the fourth straight title, complete the full cycle of the Milo Little Olympics and win against our toughest rival, NCR,” said Ballesteros.
The close to 300 athletes and officials from Team Visayas are running a tight schedule.
Yesterday, the ship to Manila was delayed by about two hours and was running behind schedule.
Set to arrive after lunchtime today, the team has to travel to Marikina so it could join the 4 p.m. opening ceremony.
“The schedule will be tight. We need to directly go the venue instead of trying to settle into our hotel in Quezon City. We can only settle in after the opening, which will be about 10 p.m. It’s important to do this as orderly as we can so that our kids can rest because games start early by Saturday,” said Brando Velasquez to the coaches.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 19, 2012.