AFTER a six-year lull, the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) National Games will be back again with more than 6,000 collegiate athletes from all over the country compete in 18 sports disciplines on February 22 to 28 at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

“The Ched National Games is an excellent opportunity for our youth to push themselves to greater limits as it is an important proving ground where they can earn praise for their prowess and build character in the spirit of a healthy competition,” said Ched Chairman Emmanuel Angeles, who has been involved in sports since 1953.

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Competitions will be held in baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, football, sepak takraw, softball, volleyball, athletics, badminton, boxing, chess, dance sports, judo, karatedo, lawn tennis, swimming, table tennis, and taekwondo.

Angeles said the goal of the integrated sports program is to help hone world class athletes and perhaps give the country the elusive Olympic gold medal.

“Since we are still aiming for the first ever gold medal, this endeavor would hopefully help our athletes hone their skills,” he added.

Members of the national team are also qualified to compete as long as they fall on the age limit, Angeles said.

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Harry Angping has also thrown his support for the games with the use of the different facilities inside the sports complex.

The last National Games was held in Bacolod City in 2004.

Angeles said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be the guest of honor in the opening ceremonies set on February 22.

“This will be her last engagement in a sporting event before her term ends,” he added.

President Arroyo will end her nine-year rule on June 30, 2010. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)