THOUGH short of one event from last year, the prestige of this year's 82nd Araw ng Davao Sports Festival has not diminished at all since neighboring athletes keep coming as the annual sporstfest kicked off first weekend of March.
Irish Ortiz of the Sports Development Division of the City Mayor's Office (SDD-CMO) on Wednesday, March 13, said there are 29 events this year compared to last year's 30 events.
Badminton, according to her, was not included in the roster of Araw ng Davao sports since its local national sports association (NSA) representative did not submit a proposal.
The number, however, does not include other events partially sponsored by the city government of Davao and initiated by private organizations such as the much-anticipated 2nd Alveo Ironman 70.3 Davao on March 24, which has 2,200 entries from 38 countries like the United Arab Emirates, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Mexico, Ukraine, India, Malaysia, Qatar, the US, Belgium, Spain, Italy, New Caledonia, Singapore, South Africa, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain, Korean, Norway, Thailand, Switzerland, Greece, Kuwait, New Zealand, Turkey, China, Guam, Mexico, Panama, Taiwan and the Philippines.
However, Ortiz said that she's not privy about the total budget for this year's sportsfest, which is spiced up by the inclusion of the recently-concluded 2nd Davao International Marathon (DIM) and upcoming TDR80 Ultra Marathon.
Cebu-based Dabawenyo Azlen Pagay and Bukidnon native Esterlita Organiza romped away with the 2nd DIM men's and women's 42K titles, respectively, last March 10 at People's Park.
Over at Villa Josefina Resort Village in Dumoy, Toril, Felipe Sajulga III of Caltex Delo Tribu and Gigi Gorre of PNP PRO 11 clinched the modified titles of the 82nd Araw ng Davao Festival Triathlon and Novice 2019 that attracted 234 triathletes. Participants competed different categories in the two-day event held March 2 and 3.
In cycling, Koronadal City riders dominated the road bike criterium event held at the Crocodile Park grounds Saturday, March 9, while Team Wadab MCV topped the five-man mountainbike division.
Grant Gutierrez, for his part, said the TDR30 Ultra Marathon will have entries from Manila, Cebu and different parts of Mindanao.
"The 80-kilometer race will start from Magsaysay Park going to Eden Nature Park Resort on March 16 and 17. So far, 30 female and 70 male participants confirmed to join," he said in a recent Davao Sportswriters Association (DSA) Forum at The Annex of SM City Davao.
Competitions in LGBT volleyball, tennis and Dacidba are ongoing and will resume this weekend in separate venues in Davao City.
Also a must-watch is the collegiate invitational basketball tournament pitting De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers, University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, Liceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Pirates and University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters. Games will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on March 18 to 21 at the Almendras Gym Davao City Recreation Center.