DAGUPAN CITY – The Balon Dagupan medalists and their respective coaches were given cash incentives by the city government as their prizes for winning in major sports competitions like the Region 1 Athletic Association (R1AA), Batang Pinoy Luzon Qualifying leg and Palarong Pambansa this year.

Mayor Belen T. Fernandez, Dagupan City Sports Commission (DCSC) Vice Chair Finnela T. Sim and sports commissioners led the awarding of cash incentives to the athletes who won in their respective events during a brief ceremony at the People’s Astrodome on May 21.

Winners in the 2019 R1AA and the Batang Pinoy qualifiers received P5,000 for every gold medal, P3,000 for every silver and P2,000 for every bronze medals, while coaches and trainers received the equivalent incentive of the highest medal earned by their respective athletes.

Coaches and trainers of swimming, arnis, boxing and aerogymnastics received twice the amount as their athletes’ highest medals when the city earned the Best Performing Schools Division in these respective sports events in the 2019 R1AA.

Meanwhile, Palarong Pambansa medalists received P10,000 for every gold, P7,000 for every silver and P5,000 for every bronze medal.

“This time, you rewarded yourselves the sweetest prize of them all. You claimed a back- to-back championship in R1AA, You won competitions after competitions in Batang Pinoy, and the  Palarong Pambansa, and many more. You showered yourselves with victories,” extolled a proud Mayor Fernandez.

The Balon Dagupan athletes made plenty of history in recent sports competitions this year.

This was the second time since last year that the athletes clinched the top spot, to crown itself as back-to-back champions in the R1AA meet. This, after amassing a total of 87 gold, 64 silver and 55 bronze medals after five days of competition in Laoag City.

The athletes also clinched a total of 16 gold, 13 silver and 11 bronze medals, placing eighth overall among more than 100 delegations that saw action in the Batang Pinoy Luzon Qualifying Leg in Ilagan City, just days after their R1AA victory.

Dagupan City also recorded its biggest gold harvest in the yearly Palarong Pambansa when it amassed a total of nine gold, six silver and four bronze medals in the week-long competition held this year in Davao City.

All these stemmed from the joint efforts of the athletes’ hard work and the city government’s unwavering support.

“As City Mayor, my most important role was something you have not seen that any other Mayor did for Dagupan sports before: I was your biggest cheerleader. I felt all your pains, frustrations and disappointment. But this is no time to be sad anymore because you have proven them wrong,” added Fernandez.

Through the abundant support of the city government, the city’s athletes are working continuously in representing the city in national and international stages.

Meanwhile, three Balon Dagupan star athletes will be representing the Philippines in the coming Southeast Asia (SEA) Games. These include John Enrico Vasquez, who will be competing under the Men’s Individual Kata and Men’s Team Kata; Mark Andrew Manantan for Men’s Team Kata; and Jayson Ramil Macaalay in minus 60 kilograms Men’s Kumite.

Vasquez and Macaalay are also set to compete in the Asian Karatedo Federation (AKF) Senior Championships to be held in Uzbekistan this July.

All three athletes have also been training other aspiring athletes under the Karatedo program of the city’s summer sports clinic.

The ongoing clinic is conducted annually under the city’s Building the Future: Developing Our Excellence in Sports (BTF: DOES IT) program. (Verdelle De Vera/CIO)