DAGUPAN CITY – The Balon Dagupan athletes amassed a total of nine gold, six silver and four bronze medals, a feat that anchored the ninth-place finish of the Region 1 Athletic Association (R1AA) in the recently concluded 2019 Palarong Pambansa.

This, after the city’s archers and gymnasts dominated their respective events during the grueling weeklong competitions held in Davao City from April 27 to May 4.

R1AA, composed of four provinces and nine cities, bagged a total of 16 gold, 13 silver and 21 bronze medals, even overtaking powerhouse Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

This was the biggest gold harvest ever registered by Dagupan City in the yearly Palarong Pambansa.

Archer Jason Emmanuel Z. Feliciano of Northfield Academy stole the limelight when he ruled in six events in only his first stint in the competition, earning four gold medals in individual 30 meters, 60 meters, 70 meters and single FITA events, while also collecting two silver medals in Olympic round and Team Event.

Feliciano also broke two new records in his first Palaro outing when he set a new record of 322 in 70 meters from 313 previously set by his fellow archer Jared Cole Sua in last year’s Palaro.

He also set a new record in the FITA event, eclipsing last year’s record of 1267 registered by Kennyben Gallogo of CARAGA to erect a new record of 1304.

Bemedaled archer Sua of Mothergoose Special School System, former record holder in the 70 meters, also earned a silver medal in team event and a bronze medal in individual 50 meters.

Meanwhile, young gymnast Mark Tyrone Reyes of JCCMI Christian Academy Inc. shared the limelight with Feliciano when he also hauled a total of four gold medals, plus one silver medal in gymnastics events. He won the gold medals in vault, mushroom, individual and team all-around events, and a silver medal in bars.

Mavin M. Lunaria of Victoria Zarate Elementary School also earned one gold medal in gymnastics team all-around exercises.

Lara Faye Concepcion of East Central Integrated School earned one silver in beam exercises and two bronze medals in individual and team all-around exercises.

In the same occasion, Palarong Pambansa veteran and star swimmer Janelle Alisa Frances Lin of Genesis School of Happy Kids bagged one gold medal in 400-meter freestyle, two silver in 200 and 800-meter freestyle and one bronze medal in 100-meter freestyle.

It was the only gold earned by the Balon Dagupan Swimming Team in this year’s Palaro.

The 2019 Palarong Pambansa was only one of the many sports events where the Balon Dagupan athletes registered their stellar performance.  The city’s athletes also registered remarkable records in the recently concluded PSI Grand Prix qualifiers event,  the Batang Pinoy Luzon Leg and the 2019 R1AA Meet.

Earlier, the city made another history after earning the highest medal tally of 87 gold, 64 silver and 55 bronze medals in R1AA when it successfully defended its championship title in Laoag City this year.

The numerous achievements earned by the city’s athletes were the result of continuous preparation and intensive trainings facilitated by the Dagupan City Sports Commission (DCSC).

Mayor Belen T. Fernandez created the DCSC in 2014 in a bid to reinvigorate the city’s sports and set up policies in order to help support and develop the skills of young Dagupeño athletes.

Through Mayor Fernandez’s initiatives, the DCSC has launched several programs catering to youth and sports development.

These include the annual summer sports clinic attended by more than 900 aspiring athletes yearly, and the free basic swimming courses for disaster preparedness. Both are under the city’s Building the Future: Developing Our Excellence in Sports (BTF: DOES IT!) program.

Aside from these, Mayor Fernandez also initiated the renovation of the city’s Olympic-size swimming pool where the city’s star swimmers are now training extensively.

It can be recalled that in 2018, the yearly appropriation for youth and sports development reached an all-time high of  P15.4-million. This was bigger by nearly P15-million from the  P494,777 budget allotted by the past city administration to sports in 2012. (Verdelle De Vera/CIO)