MOUNTAIN Province started their campaign in the 2017 Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association on a high note after winning the first gold medal in the weeklong competition.

Hoping to jumpstart ahead of the medal standings, Mt. Province’s Ronald Agpad, A-ef Ablasan, Hans Bacali, Oseas Marcelo and Vemek Mangomoc snatched the gold medal in the ‘kadang – kadang’ (wooden stilts) event at the jam packed Baguio Athletic Bowl.

Kalinga, last year’s champion, settled for second while Ifugao salvage third in the demo sport, which is not part of the over-all medal tally.

Close to 5,080 athletes, coaches and other officials from Abra, Apayao, Benguet and host Baguio City paraded from Session Road to athletic bowl to kick off the weeklong competition for elementary and high school student athletes in the region with the team “One spirit, One team creates champions.”

Atty. Agustin Laban III, officer in charge of the Department of Education Baguio Schools Division congratulated the athletes and tagged them as winners having earned the right to represent their own districts to the regional level.

“You are all champions with a big heart but remember, Antique is the next challenge,” added Laban, referring to the upcoming Palarong Pambansa slated later this year.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan meanwhile urged athletes to continuously develop and never be discouraged especially when losing to sports competition.

Dep-Ed sports Director Rey Umayat said they are hoping this event will not only foster sportsmanship but also camaraderie among athletes, coaches and other delegates from the other areas in the region.

Host Baguio City is gunning for the over - all crown anew with medals at stake in the 23 different sports event.

The city hopes to duplicate or surpass last year’s medal haul with 212 gold medals including 91 silver and 79 bronze medals to retain the over-all championship in the last 10 staging of CARAA with Benguet, placing second and took home 43 golds, 93 silvers, and 87 bronze. (Sharma Buteng and Jean Ananayo/UC Intern)