SOME Arafura Games 2019 champions from Davao City relished their colorful experiences and memories in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.
Swimmers Ray Martin Yarra, Lora Micah Amoguis, Ivo Nikolai Enot and Joshua del Rio along with jumper Mark Anthony Caseñas and thrower Bruce Pernia, who all brought home gold medals for Team Philippines in the recent revival of the games, were all thankful for the support of the Filipino community in Darwin.
Del Rio, 16, of Ateneo de Davao University, who accounted for one gold, three silvers and three bronzes, cited the Filipinos there, saying, “They're very friendly. Mapagbigay sila. They shared a lot to us. Ang babait nila. May nagbigay nga sa amin, tigdadalawang kilos ng chocolates.”
Enot, 13, of Collegio de San Ignacio, who clinched three golds and five silvers, said the Filipino community in Darwin is very generous.
“May na-experience kami namimili kami sa supermarket then nakita kami ng Filipino community naawa sa amin, nilibre na kami sa pinamili namin then pumupunta sila sa competition namin para mag-support,” Enot reminisced.
The 14-year-old Yarra of Abbas Orchard, who bagged one gold and one bronze, shared that Darwin-based Filipinos, said Darwin-based Filipinos also gave them money, food and stuff.
Amoguis, 13, of Abbas Orchard, was grateful for the overwhelming support they received while competing in the Games.
“They are still studying but they keep supporting us, trying to bring us to the venue and they cooked us food,” Amoguis, who collected three golds, five silvers and one bronze, shared.
Enot, however, said the most memorable for him was winning the first gold for the team.
“Yung marinig ko po na pinatugtog ang Philippine national anthem nung nanalo ako ng gold, memorable po talaga yun sa akin pati making new friends and the Filipino community there,” he added.
Yarra also said, “Trading shirts and pins with other delegates from other countries was also memorable for me.”
Meanwhile, Caseñas, 18, a senior high school student of the University of Mindanao, said that winning the men’s long jump and triple jump golds were unexpected.
“I had a recurring knee injury but I'm grateful it was not triggered during the Games,” Caseñas said in the vernacular.
Bruce Pernia, 19, of the Holy Cross of Davao College, who won a men's javelin throw gold, was also overwhelmed by the warm reception of Filipinos.
“They invite us to dinner and special celebration, gave us chocolates and toured us around Darwin,” Pernia also said in the vernacular.
The athletes also thanked their parents, respective coaches and schools, City Government of Davao and the Philippine Sports Commission for supporting them.
The 91 Filipinos from Davao City, Cagayan de Oro City, Davao del Norte, General Santos City, Bacolod City and Palawan who competed in the Arafura Games 2019 harvested a total of 31 golds, 51 silvers and 34 bronzes.