TAGUM CITY -- Opening round victories in chess kicked off on Monday, February 4, the ambitious quest of the 249-strong Cagayan de Oro delegation to challenge reigning champion Davao City for the overall supremacy of the 2019 Batang Pinoy Mindanao Qualifying Leg at the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex here.
Warming up ablazing, Santiago Lumancas Jr. and the Canino sisters, Rhea and Rhuelle, won their respective board matches in rapid chess competition, while David Rey Ancheta contented himself to start with a draw.
“It’s a good sign for Team CDO hopefully mahuman ang rapid chess (6 rounds) karong adlawa nga adunay gold,” said city sports chief Jaymar Rivera as he quashed early fear of disqualification in some events, saying that resolving paper works is underway, and that, all athletes from the City of Gold can play.
“Naay minor glitches we don’t know asang dapita pero na settle na especially sa atong dancesport tanan sila makadula,” added Arbs Calido of the city sports office.
Cagayan de Oro is pinning its hope for first gold in the hands of the Grade 5 pupil Rhuelle “Tawing” Canino, who is a consistent source of medals for the Philippines in the ASEAN chess.
“May silat sa laro pero wala na yatang makakatalo kay Canino sa kanyang age bracket,” quipped Philippine Star ace reporter Joey Villar at the press room.
The medal-rich centerpiece events in swimming and athletics will start on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, even as eliminations games in boxing, arnis and taekwondo wherein Cagayan de Oro has solid chances of winning already went into full throttle.
On Sunday’s opening of the multifarious sports conclave, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William “Butch” Ramirez said that everything is in place and the situation is back to normal in Davao del Norte after reports of floods caused by heavy rains.
“Pasensiya na rin dahil magiging mahigpit ang security measure na i-implement ng Tagum City LGU para maging segurado ang seguridad ng mga bata,” said Ramirez.
Even that the recent bombing incidents in Jolo and Zamboanga have a “chilling” effect elsewhere in the country, Davao Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario said the province is well-prepared but could not be complacent.
“Nakapaghanda na tayo ng matagalan may mga tao tayong nagmamasid sa paligid para segurado,” was del Rosario’s assurance.
Some 729 athletes from all over Mindanao are tipped to go all out in a bid to book their respective slots in the national finals that would be staged either in Tagbilaran City or Ormoc City in October.
A total of 765 gold, 765 silver and 1,063 bronze medals will be disputed in this eight-day battle that features the best Mindanao athletes 15 years and below.