The years 2016 and 2017 were years of many awards for Dagupan City. During these years, the city broke national records and received many “firsts” in the field of sports. Here are some of our achievements:
Region 1 Athletic Association Meets
The 2016 Region 1 Athletic Association Meet, which was held in San Carlos City from February 21 to 27, 2016, is the first in the succession of the Dagupeñan athletes’ triumphs. The week-long regional sports competition had a favorable upshot that was never-before-seen—the city ranked second among all other participating cities, with a total of 44 gold, 38 silver, and 38 bronze medals.
In the past four or five years, Dagupan City was a mere participant in the regional event. In 2015, the city was just the seventh-placer, and Dagupan suddenly rising up against defending champion Pangasinan II in the 2016 R1AA Meet was a huge surprise.
The feat was not a short-lived one.
The following year, in the 2017 R1AA Meet, which was held on March 3 to 8, 2017 in Bantay, Ilocos Sur, Balon Dagupan athletes maintained the city’s second place, bringing home an even higher medal count: 51 gold, 40 silver, and 41 bronze medals.
What is most remarkable about the 2017 R1AA Meet was that it was the city’s first time sending contenders for archery, but the city’s team of bows and arrows remained undaunted despite being newbies. Of the 132 medals of the city, the archery team owned four gold, one silver, and one bronze medal.
“Our athletes have proven once more that every day is a chance to get better. Without doubt, our children have done us extremely proud with these great achievements. This is our important investment in your children: We teach them to dream and achieve because success comes to those who never give up,” Mayor Belen T. Fernandez said, upon hearing the good news that the 417 Balon Dagupan athletes brought.
2016 Batang Pinoy National Championship
Our city’s players did not stop achieving in the regional level. 23 local athletes continued to shine on a national scale, in the Batang Pinoy 2016 National Championships held on November 27 to December 2, 2016 in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. They took home a total of 12 gold medals.
Balon Dagupan’s swimmers were the stars of the national competition, which had a participation of 12,000. Our swimmer, Janelle Alisa Frances Lin, won four gold and one silver medal in the 200M Backstroke, 200M Freestyle, 200M Individual Medley, 50M Freestyle, and 200M Butterfly swimming contests that she contended in. But aside from adding to the huge collection of the city’s accomplishment in sports, Lin broke three national records, outswimming one 2015 and two 2012 speed records by seconds.
Lin, who was not even 12 years old then, beat Manila’s Erin Castrillo’s 2012 2:38:25 200M Individual Medley record by setting a faster 2:35:87. Lin also broke the 2012 record of San Juan’s Marie Olegario’s 200M Backstroke of 2:39:22 with 2:35:19. She also wowed people when she beat Iligan City’s Aubrey Bermejo’s 200M Freestyle record at 2:20:52 by setting a new one: 2:18:17.
Lin is the first local athlete to break three national records in one go.
Secondary-level swimmers who each earned a gold medal were Paul Andrew Rioflorido, John Carlo Rioflorido, Anton Louis Vivencio Villaflor III, and Jeremy Carlo Jizmundo. Meanwhile, Balon Dagupan swimming team members Sophia Rafaelle de Vera, Sean Iverson, Gabriel Angelo Jizmundo, and Bryan Rioflorido broke their own records.
The swimmers trained daily at the city’s Olympic-size swimming pool, which was renovated by Mayor Fernandez under the BTF DOES It (Building the Future: Develop Our Excellence in Sports) Program.
“Our athletes inspired me to start our BTF Does it Program and their parents inspired me more to help them pursue their dreams to excel in their chosen fields of sports,” the Mayor said.
Other local athletes who competed in the Batang Pinoy National Championship were arnisadore Melquizedick D. Macam, and chess master Maycydel N. Fajardo. Macam was in the top ten finalists in arnis while Fajardo was in the top ten in the standard, rapid, and blitz categories in chess.
Palarong Pambansa 2017
Local athletes flew to the province of Antique on April 23 to 28, and came home with another boost to the Dagupeñan pride. Our players won four gold one silver, and six bronze medals in the five-day competition.
One of these athletes is Lin, who once again showed her tireless passion for swimming in the 400M and 800M Freestyle category in the secondary girls division. She won a gold medal in each competition, and earned a bronze medal in the 200M individual medley on the same sports.
Another Dagupeñan athlete who showcased his dexterity was Jared Cole Sua, the city’s first national participant in archery. Sua won a gold medal in the 50M Archery in the secondary level for boys. He won bronze in the mixed team category.
Basketball player Asher Vidal ruled the 3×3 elementary basketball boys competition. Vidal, like Sua and Lin, were the first athletes to win a gold medal from the region in the Palarong Pambansa.
Other commendable athletes were Sofia Rafaelle de Vera, who won a bronze medal in the 4×50 Freestyle (secondary), Jerry Paras Jr., who also earned a bronze medal in the athletics elementary boys 4×400 meter relay; and May Cydel Fajardo who was rewarded two bronze medals in the individual blitz and team blitz competition in chess (secondary). Basketball player Kristine Cayabyab was recognized as one of the recipients of the Mythical Five Basketball certificate for basketball girls (secondary).
The local government supports the endeavors of our local athletes. Here are some of the programs that the city that fuel our athletes.
Dagupan City Sports Commission (DCSC) Summer Sports Clinic
The DCSC Summer Sports Clinic was held on May 5 to May 27, 2017. The month-long program was completely free of charge and offered training in 11 different sports archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, chess, football, futsal, gymnastics, table tennis, wushu, and swimming. Each sport lasted for 10 sessions, except archery, which took eight sessions.
The free sports clinic was a campaign against drugs, or, as promoted by the mayor, “Sports Kontra Droga”. The program was able to train 640 aspiring athletes.
Trainers were outsourced from the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines in Manila, Wushu Federation of the Philippines, Manila Archery Center, and Bert Lozada Swim School.
“I commend the members of the Dagupan City Sports Commission for having this kind of program for the children in line with our BTF DOES it program and the Department of Education as well headed by Mdm Froserfina Bravo for all the support in training our children to achieve excellence in sports,” Mayor Fernandez said in a post.
Olympic-sized Swimming Pool
Dagupan had an Olympic-sized swimming pool, but it was not until the mayor decided to have it renovated did it start to gain more recognition. Swimmers like Lin train here for hours daily.
In 2015, the city invited celebrity Enchong Dee, who chose Dagupan as his first destination for the Handog Palangoy Program because of the city’s extensive efforts in honing athletes.
“It is very important that our children learn how to swim so they are prepared in times of emergency considering that Dagupan is a coastal city and a catch basin of floodwater. Thank you to Bert Lozada Swimming School for being our active partner in this free swimming program for the children,” Fernandez said in a post.
In the same month, 660 young Dagupeños were taught in a basic swimming course under the BTF DOES IT Program. Fernandez stated in her post that she wanted people of the city to be prepared at all times, especially since most parts of Dagupan is flood-prone.
“it is very important that our children are equipped with life-saving skills in swimming for them to be prepared in times of disaster like storm surge and to use their swimming skills to help save others as well.”
At present, the city is getting unprecedented recognition not just in the fields of education and sports, but also economically. Behind the hundreds of cheers, medals, and trophies brought to the city by young athletes are the relentless efforts of the local government. The financial and emotional support, as well as the ongoing renovation of infrastructures like classrooms and sports facilities, among others, are the push fueling every, and many, athletes who continue to break and set new records. (Zarena Amado/CIO).