WHILE Cordillera will continue to thrive in combative sports in the annual Palarong Pambansa, opponents from other regions may soon catch up if improvements are not addressed.

Combative events have been the goldmine for CAR during the previous Palaro, but the challenge has been continuously raised as the annual national sports meet cultivate more talents coming from the various parts of the country.

DepEd-Baguio Supervisor for MAPEH and Sports Fernando Eleponga told Sun.Star Baguio the desired improvements will help CAR in retaining its fifth place outing in the recent 2014 Palaro held in Laguna.

“Actually that was the best record the region had in years of attending the Palaro. However if we will take into consideration the medal tally in each contest, combative sports has been braved to maintain authority lately,” Eleponga said.

Eleponga said other regions have started to gear up and produce more competitive players that will soon affect the region’s dominance in the sport.

“We can tell na marami na rin silang naging improvements from the past years, if you can see the transition hindi man nawawala ang overall title in combative events sa atin but there are still relevant issues showing na dumarami na ang rival regions,” Eleponga said.

“That is why I still advise our coaches na if possible take the contest one step ahead,” Eleponga added.

For the first time in Palaro history, CAR bagged its highest position after a 24-11-12 (gold-silver-bronze) medal haul during the week-long national sports event held May 4-10.

Cordillera capped a 7-4-2 tally from the elementary division for a ninth place finish while the secondary division earned a total of 17-7-10 to record fourth place outing.

Taekwondo jins competing in kyorugi and poomsae sacked a total of 11 gold medals including three silver and four bronze medal to bring home the over-all crown anew, while Arnis capped 5-3-3 from the anyo (form) contest and 4-0-1 in the labanan (sparring) to boost CAR with a total of 9-3-4.

Meanwhile, local coaches also bare the pressure of those regions vying to compete with CAR.

Taekwondo coach Arnold Oglayon said many of the competitors have really been giving effort to improve particularly in combative sports.

“Grabe rin talaga ang efforts coming from other regions, let us take for example here in taekwondo. As we see most of the athletes before locals lang rin ang coach nila pero through the years mapapansin natin they seek training from foreigners,” Oglayon said.

“I am not telling dahil doon they are better than Filipino coaches but the fact na iyong mga previous coaches nila has been supplemented with better ones mas malaki na ngayon ang range of contention against us,” Oglayon added.

In the meantime, DepEd-CAR has been coordinating with the different division superintendents and sports coordinator on how to strengthen its envoy in the 2015 Palaro.