WEEKS of practice were wasted after Alyssa Lou Llenes, a taekwondo player for Cebu City, was disqualified from playing in the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association.

The reason? A new rule by the Department of Education Central Office requiring athletes and coaches to be interviewed as part of the screening process.

“My daughter was disqualified to play. She was a gold medalist in the Cebu City Olympics,” said Llenes father, Val, who contacted SunStar Cebu.

In a separate interview, Deped Cebu City sports coordinator Zenaida Gocotano said that the reason the student was not allowed play is non-compliance with the screening and interview for athlete and coaches.

“It’s the rule of the Deped Central Office. There was a memorandum that was released nationwide about it. For Cebu City, we also released our memorandum for that and informed the coaches and parents about it,” said Gocotano.

Gocotano said that the screening for athletes was scheduled on Jan. 25 and the students and athletes were even given a chance to join on Feb. 9.

Val said that his daughter was not able to join the interview and screening because she was taking a periodical exam that time.

Daisy Therese Sonza-Llenes, Alyssa’s aunt, added that Alyssa did go to DepEd’s office on Feb. 9 only to learn that the screening and interview was conducted in Naga. They were informed via a phone call on Feb. 11 that Alyssa was disqualified.

The 13-year-old Allysa Lou, a sixth grader at University of San Carlos-Basic Education Department, won a gold medal in the girls’ taekwondo Category 4 in the Cebu City Olympics last November, and would have played her very first Cviraa this year.

Gocotano said that the rule for the interview and screening of the students was implemented last year to avoid any issues on athletes’ eligibility.

“The files from the screening and interview will be used to verify the information on athletes whenever there are questions raised in the competition. This was done to avoid anomalies regarding the age of the student and even the gender,” said Gocotano.

Gocotano added that this is a nationwide rule and all the participants in the regional events were screened, and the data will be used for the Palaro.

“Of course I want her to play because this child has a good record in sporting meets. But I can’t do anything about it because it’s the rule of the Central Office,” said Gocotano.

Val said that they were informed that the disqualification was already submitted to the technical committee. He’s asking the Deped for the formal letter of the decision.

Gocotano said that there was no replacement for the disqualified athlete because the names were already submitted after the screening.