DEFENDING champions Cebu City Niños will field a strong 649-man team for the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (Cviraa), which opens on Feb. 12 in the City of Naga, southern Cebu.

Cebu City sports coordinator Zenaida Gocotano told SunStar Cebu yesterday the Cebu City will have entries in all the sporting events. The players also recently joined a strength and conditioning seminar led by certified sports conditioning trainer Dr. Rhoel Dejano.

“All the athletes for Cebu City had joined the strength and conditioning training. They also had separate trainings for every sport,” said Gocotano.

Gocotano said that in their recent meeting, the City of Naga and Cebu Province assured delegates they will provide eight policemen for every billeting center for their safety.

The event will officially kick off with an opening ceremony on Feb. 12, but the gymnastic event will start early on Feb. 9.

Gocotano said that some of Cebu City athletes will be going to City of Naga as early as Feb. 8, while the rest will leave on Feb. 9 and 10.

Cebu City dominated Cviraa last year with 113 gold medals, 71 silvers and 59 bronzes to win its 24th straight title. The team is aiming to exceed their performance last year.

“For this year, we are still joining in all the regular events and demo sports. In fact, in wrestling, Cebu City has no opponent and is already assured of seven gold medals. The wrestling team will only perform an exhibition since they have no opponents,” said Gocotano.

Wrestling, a demo sports before, has been added as a regular sport this year, together with wushu, billiard and futsal.

The other regular events to be contested are archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, chess, football, gymnastics (MAG, WAG and RG), sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis and volleyball.