FORMER Palarong Pambansa badminton gold medalists will spearhead the regional team to the 1st Ched National Games on Feb. 22-28 in Metro Manila.

Said medalists gave Western Visayas the title for several years while still in elementary and high school.

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Recognized for reaping medals in previous Palaro badminton competition are Negrense Ernesto Layao, Jr. and Aljons Alayon in the men’s category and Jennen Llema in the women’s division.

Both Layao and Alayon are currently enrolled at North Negros College in Cadiz City, while Llema at Riverside College in Bacolod City. The three are mainstays of Cadiz City and under Jordan Sun.

Other badminton campaigners are former Palaro champions Lynette Esico, Rejhelen Garrino and Annelyn Alba, hailed from Capiz but currently enrolled at Iloilo Doctor’s College.

Also joining the team are Iloilo Doctor’s College’s Camille Burgos in the women and Jornellus Castro and Austin De Vera, and Alain Rhey Balderas of Central Philippine University in the men’s category.

Meanwhile, University of Negros Occidental women’s beach volley team will have Ruby Casiple, Jennifer Cosas, and Denise Marie Donasco while University of San Agustin in Iloilo Verdin Paul Deocampo, Jason James Palma, and Jethro Rodriguez will see action in the men’s division.

On the other hand, defending champion men’s and women’s chess teams are looking forward for the title retention despite the absence of former mainstays who already graduated.

In the women’s division, tasked to defend crown include: Ruby Jade Ambus and Joy Demonteverde of the University of St. La Salle; Mary Grace Tambasen -- University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos; Ma. Josella Uy -- West Negros University, and Mary Jot Bernada -- Filamer Christian College, Roxas City.

In the men’s are Allen Mirano of Western Institute of Technology; Mark Gustilo -- Central Philippine University; John Reich Laquihon -- John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University, and Brylle John Arellano -- West Negros University. (With reports from Scoop-Bacolod)