DAGUPAN CITY – After finishing second best for two consecutive years, Balon Dagupan finally clinched the crown as this year’s Region 1 Athletic Association (R1AA) champion after five grueling days of competitions in Alaminos City on February 10-15.

This is the city’s first championship crown in the R1AA since the annual meet started, finishing the game with 71 gold, 51 silver, and 34 bronze medals.

In 2016 the city placed second best overall for the first time with 44 gold, 38 silver, and 38 bronze medals, rising from its almost perennial seventh place in past meets.

In 2017 the city almost clinched the top spot as it was just short five gold medals to the champion Pangasinan II   and settled for second best again with 51 gold, 40 silver, and 41 bronze medals.

For this year, the city’s powerhouse swimming team remained as the city’s strongest medal haulers, accounting for 32 gold, 13 silver, and 12 bronze medals. This is now the third consecutive year that the Balon Dagupan swimming team was the team to beat in the R1AA’s swimming events.

Surprisingly, the city’s arnis team, the gymnastics, and taekwondo teams, including players in badminton and athletics contributed more gold medals this year than in the last three years, said Dagupan City Sports Commissioner Finnela T. Sim.

The arnis team won 10 gold, 10 silver, and three bronze medals; gymnastics, seven gold, 11 silver, and 10 bronze medals, while the taekwondo team won six gold, three silver, and four bronze medals.

“We can say that our athletes in every event in this year’s R1AA contributed much in our quest for the championship by winning more gold medals than in the last two years,” said Sim.

The city also won one gold, two silver and one bronze medals in its first participation in pencak silat, added Sim.

Mayor Belen T. Fernandez, Sim and Division Schools Superintendent Lourdes Bugayong received the trophies for the Best Performing Delegation and the Best Performing Secondary Delegation along with the other commissioners of the DCSC like Nestor “Nanoy” Duque and Renato “Jackal” Vidal from Department of Education Region 1 Director Dr. Alma Ruby Torio, Alaminos City Mayor Arthur Celeste and Alaminos City Schools Division Superintendent Danilo Sison.

In an interview, Fernandez acknowledged the efforts of the Batang Dagupenyo, saying “ang mga Batang Dagupenyo ang nagpanalo sa atin.”

She said the city’s athletes will be the city’s role model to inspire more Batang Dagupenyo to engage in sports.

“In fact, because of their achievements for the last two years naging triple ang mga batang sumali sa ating summer sports training. Withthis, tuloy-tuloy ang magiging training ng ating mga atleta. Let’s do everything for our children and let’s do it right,” said Fernandez.

For next year’s meet, Sim disclosed that the city will be training athletes who will join the boxing and wrestling competitions.

For now, our athletes will be preparing for the Batang Pinoy of the Philippine National Games for 17 years above in March, and the Palarong Pambansa in April. (Joseph C. Bacani/CIO/Feb. 15, 2018)