KIANGAN, Ifugao – With the 2010 edition of the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association already underway, the Baguio arnis squad is optimistic it will retain the overall crown in the event.

Arnis head coach Alfredo Tolentino said with the nine gold medals on tap in both anyo (form) and combat, Baguio team is expected to take all the gold medals considering the presence of veterans in its lineup.

“Kompyansa tayo na makukuha natin lahat ng gold sa event ng anyo at combative kasi we still have our veterans in the line-up,” Tolentino added.

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Arnis was one of the gold mines of Baguio in last year’s regional sports meet which was hosted by the city.

“With the veterans still in the team, mataas yung kompyansa ng mga bata kaya malaki ang chance natin na sa atin pa rin ang over-all title,” added Tolentino.

Arnis competition started Sunday afternoon after the official opening of the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (Caraa) hosted by the Province of Ifugao.

The anyo competition will be the first stop for the Baguio squad, which also include the team event at the Tungngod Elementary School in Lagawe town, where the bulk of the sports events are being played in this year’s edition.

Eighteen sports events are on tap for the week with close to 3,500 athletes from Abra, Apayao, including Baguio City, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mt. Province.

Delegates start arriving as early as Thursday afternoon where they will be billeted to different venues in the Lagawe and in nearby Kiangan town.

Athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, chess, football, gymnastics, sipa takraw, softball, table tennis, tae kwon do, lawn tennis, volleyball, archery, and sepak takraw are included in the weeklong regional meet.

Close to five hundred gold and silver medals will be at stake while 600 bronze medals will also be up for grabs.