CAGAYAN de Oro athletes will still have a full month to prepare for the 2011 Palarong Pampook, otherwise known as Northern Mindanao Regional Athletic Association (NMRAA) Meet.

This, after the DepEd’s sporting arm — the Bureau of Physical Education for School Sports (BPESS) — has decided to move the Palarong Pambansa qualifier to February instead of its first week playdates in January.

“Na-move sa February ang regional meet. At least, maka-preparar pa ang mga bata after a long holiday break. Expected nga bug-at ang mga timbang sa atong mga atleta gumikan sa mga lami-an nga pagkaon sa pasko ug new year,” said Eric Miguel, sports coordinator of “home of champions” Corpus Christi School, in a casual talk with this writer.

As usual, the CCS Knights will compose the biggest bulk of COAA (Cagayan de Oro Athletics Association) contingent in the week-long regional meet to be held at the state-of-the-art Mindanao Civic Center in Tubod, Lanao del Norte.

This, after Corpus Christi’s varsity players powered the Private Schools Athletic Association (Prisaa) team into a strong finish in the City Quadrangular Meet.

Top surviving athletes from the Cosaa (Cagayan de Oro Schools Athletic Association) and the city legislatives’ first and second districts will also advance to the regional meet, serving as the last qualifying phase for the prestigious Palarong Pambansa.

Finest student athletes from elementary and secondary schools in Northern Mindanao will compete in 17 sports disciplines, namely; archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, chess, football, artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo and tennis.

Preliminary meets have been held as pre-requisites for athletes to advance from one level of competition to the next.

The process of selection started with the school intramurals early in the school year. Outstanding players and winners were selected to represent their schools in district meets. Such process is repeated at the provincial and regional levels.

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