Winning the gold medal in football and basketball and dominating the taekwondo competition, the Negros Occidental elementary team matched Iloilo's tally of 64 gold medals to share the No. 1 ranking in the latest medal count of the 2018 WVRAA in Iloilo yesterday.
While Iloilo ruled in elementary boys and girls' volleyball, Negros Occidental won five gold medals in taekwondo as both provinces ended Day 4 with an identical 64 golds.
The Negros elementary boys' basketball team also beat Iloilo, 60-50, while its football squad prevailed over the Ilonggos, 6-1.
The Negrenses have more silver finishes at 55 against Iloilo's 52 but the Ilonggos have more bronze medals at 43 against Negros' 38.
In secondary competition, Iloilo displayed a remarkable performance with 101 gold medals to top the medal tally while Negros ranked No. 2 with 63 golds. Both provinces have 70 silver medals, as of yesterday, while Iloilo had 59 bronzes and Negros, 53.
The Negros Occidental girls' athletics team was declared champion with middle distance runner Ma. Isabel Oqueriza, who won the gold medal in 400 meters and 800 meters, getting the Most Valuable Player award.
“Our athletes' performance has greatly improved. We hope to sustain this momentum up to the Palarong Pambansa,” coach Addy Arca of the Negros athletics team said.
She observed that Iloilo was more dominant in the boys' competition, attributing this to their veteran athletes who had a greater exposure in last year's Palaro.
“Iloilo has a solid team and some of their athletes competed in last year's Palaro. We have younger athletes compared to them,” Arca added.
Meanwhile, Negros Occidental DepEd Provincial Sports head Romeo Sison said that no overall championship will be declared in the WVRAA this year.
While Iloilo leads in the overall medal tally after combining the figures in elementary and secondary competitions, Sison said Negros Occidental dominated several team events.
If WVRAA opts to use the the point system, it will be a very close race to the top between Iloilo and Negros Occidental.
As to the controversial ending of the secondary football event between Iloilo and Negros , with the tournament officials' decision to forfeit the championship match and award the gold medal to Iloilo, Sison said they will verify the incident and come up with their own statement.
“We respect the decision of the tournament officials but we will conduct our own verification,” Sison said.*NAB
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