DAVAO City will send a 529-member delegation of athletes and coaches to the Philippine National Games (PNG) and Batang Pinoy national championships slated on December 17 to 22 in Metro Manila.
Sports Development Division of the City Mayor's Office (SDD-CMO) officer-in-charge Mikey Aportadera, during the send-off ceremony held at the Almendras Gym Davao City Recreation Center on Friday morning, December 8, 2023, said, "Davao City is the biggest delegation. Other LGUs have been asking me why there are so many athletes. Of course, the Davao City LGU always makes a strong presence in the Batang Pinoy and PNG."
Out of the 529 city delegates, 348 are registered in the Batang Pinoy while 181 are in the PNG.
Aportadera commended the athletes for their dedication to training, reassuring them of the city government's ongoing guidance and support, irrespective of competition outcomes.
"Stand proud, Dabawenyos," the city sports chief said. "Winning and losing are just the results of your hard work. Losing is only a reminder for you to try a little harder next time. As the saying goes, `It's not how many times you fall but how many times you get up.'"
According to him, athletes should not feel ashamed if they lose, as it's an integral part of every athlete's journey.
He also thanked the parents for their unwavering support, acknowledging the presence of some parents at the send-off activity.
Aportadera called on the athletes and coaches to unite as one Davao City delegation, emphasizing the importance of support and camaraderie among team members, regardless of their respective clubs or organizations.
"We should never be divisive. Always support each other, regardless of who is your coach, who trained you, or which club you belong to. Let us show the unified strength of Davao City the moment we set foot in Manila," he added.
Vice Mayor Melchor J. Quitain Jr., who represented Mayor Sebastian "Baste" Duterte, underscored the significance of enjoyment and effort over rankings.
"The most important is you enjoy yourselves and give it all your best. That's enough for me to call you winners," the vice mayor said, reflecting on his own childhood experiences in judo and chess.
Quitain also highlighted the crucial role of parents in ensuring the success of the athletes, underscoring the holistic development that sports bring to individuals.
"Sports is still an important thing that schools should have in their program because it develops skill, mind, and discipline to make you healthy, and you will enjoy bonding with each other through it," he said.
Mayor Duterte, in a message read by Quitain, expressed his confidence in the Dabawenyo athletes' capabilities to shine.
"It is without a doubt that each of you will show off the passion and competitiveness of the Dabawenyos in the field of sports," he said.
He urged the athletes to leverage the opportunity to build relationships and reinforce the spirit of camaraderie with fellow competitors.
The mayor added, "Most importantly, may you enjoy and gain remarkable experience throughout the Batang Pinoy and Philippine National Games. We are rooting for all of you!"
Some Manila-based Dabawenyos who are medalists in the University Athletic Association Association (Uaap) Season 86 and members of the national teams will reinforce the Davao City delegation. MLSA