Cebu City, Philippines, September 4, 2012 – A whopping 9,344 athletes and officials from the Visayas region competed for glory at the recently concluded 25th MILO Little Olympics Visayas eliminations leg at the Cebu City Sports Complex. Representatives from the Department of Education as well as Presidents and Principals of 303 participating schools were among esteemed attendees at the opening ceremonies of the five-day tournament.
The notable increase in the turn-out of participants raised a double-edged sword as it posed both a milestone and a challenge for organizers of this year’s Visayas leg. “With the number of participants increasing every year, we are thrilled that our efforts to advocate sports development in Visayas continue to bear fruit. This is our biggest year so far. We now have to look for bigger venues to accommodate all the teams and athletes who want to compete in this prestigious event,” said Ricky Ballesteros, MILO Little Olympics Visayas organizer.
MILO Sports Executive Robbie de Vera credits the spike in the number of participants to the growing awareness of sports in the region. “MILO continues its mission of building the next generation of Filipino champions through sporting events that inspire our student-athletes to strive for excellence. We are very privileged to have such a big following in Visayas and are doubly proud to have such talented young Bisaya and Ilonggo athletes,” said de Vera.
According to Ballesteros, athletes and teams were more competitive and aggressive this season compared to previous years. “Most if not all of the ballgames were intense and exciting. There were many upsets this year. Defending champions lost their respective matches to new schools in the championships,” said Ballesteros. “This could only mean that the competition leveled up.”
With a stellar overall score of 135.25 points, the University of San Carlos – Basic Education Department (BED) once again proved it is a force to be reckoned with as it reclaimed its elementary division title ahead of the University of Visayas, which was a far second with 61.25 points. This year, the Sacred Heart School – Ateneo de Cebu was a distant third with 50.7 points.
Completing the top ten cast in the elementary level of the MILO Little Olympics Visayas eliminations leg are Catmon Elementary School, Cebu City Central School, Cebu Institute of Technology University, University of San Jose Recoletos, Don Bosco Technology Center, Talamban Elementary School, Banilad Elementary School – Mandaue, Labangon Elementary School and the University of Bohol.
In the secondary division, the University of Cebu shed sweat and tears as they won their 17th consecutive title with a massive 176.25 points. Strong division contender University of San Carlos – BED settled in second place with 161.5 points, followed by the University of Visayas – Cebu, a far third with 77.5 points.
Completing the top ten cast in the secondary level are Abellana National School, Iloilo National High School, Southwestern University, University of Southern Philippines – F, Sacred Heart School – Ateneo de Cebu, Cabancalan National High School and Silliman University.
Now the most recognizable and sought-after interschool sports competition in the country, the MILOLittle Olympics offers student-athletes a chance to showcase their athletic excellence, determination and drive in the national arena as the first step towards achieving greatness in international leagues like the South East Asian Games, the World Youth Cup and the Asian Junior Track Meet.
This year, the MILOLittle Olympics seeks to develop not only athletic skills but mental discipline among budding young athletes as well through a roster of 12 sporting events, namely athletics, badminton, chess, football, gymnastics, lawn tennis, swimming, table tennis, tae kwon do and volleyball, sipa or sepak takraw and scrabble.
The 25th MILOLittle Olympics eliminations leg will commence in NCR on September 8 – 9, and in Mindanao on September 7 – 9. All winners from the elimination legs will represent their region in the MILO Little Olympics National Finals in NCR on October 19 – 21, 2012. This year marks the first ever National Finals in Manila in the history of MILOLittle Olympics.