Thousands join torch relay at SRP
Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - November 17, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Thousands of runners joined the 30th Southeast Asian Games’ torch relay at the South Road Properties in Cebu City yesterday.

More Cebuanos wanted to join the five-kilometer symbolic activity, but organizers limited the number of runners to over six thousand for safety.

Despite the drizzle, the Cebuanos spirits remain up with the hope of inspiring the national athletes to go for the gold and the overall championship in the biennial meet.

Secretary Michael Dino of the Office of Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella along with former Gilas Pilipinas and PBA star and now City Councilor Dondon Hontiveros and Phisgoc COO Ramon “Tats” Suzara joined the country’s top triathlete and Talisay City native Andrew Kim Remolino, downhill skater Tomas Romualdez and katekas Sarah Pangilinan along with her national teammate OJ Delos Santos in the torch relay.

PSC Commissioner and deputy chef de mission Ramon Fernandez said this is the time to unite for the national athletes.

“Wala nay PSC, POC, Phisgoc. We are now one, we are Team Philippines. The games and the national athletes may be far from us, but ang atong kinasingkasing nga pagsuporta ug prayers gikinahanglan kaayo nila,” said Fernandez.

Labella, for his part, reminded everyone that “no man is an island and that indeed, we need each other to achieve greater heights. If you run alone, you can run fast. But if you run with others, you will go far. In growth and development, we win as one.”

Suzara said the success of the event was a “collective effort.”

Dino said Senator Bong Go was also supposed to attend the event yesterday, but had other important matters to attend to. But Go sent a message for the event.

“Palapit na nang palapit ang 30th Southeast Asian Games na gaganapin dito sa ating bansa mula November 30 hanggang December 11, 2019. Kaya naman sinasalubong natin ang okasyong yan sa pamamagitan nitong torch run. Sinisimbolo ng torch ang alab sa puso ng ilang libong atleta mula sa labing-isang bansa na magpapaligsahan sa SEA Games, lalo na ng mga atletang Pinoy, dahil tayo ang host country at may pinakamalaking delegation, at nais nating makahakot ng maraming medalya para sa ating bansa,” said Senator Go in his written message sent to OPAV.

Remolino, Pangilinan and Romualdez were so elated by the support Cebuanos showed to them, promising to do their best in the upcoming event.

“Maski dili race, grabe ang energy gipakita sa mga Cebuanos. They really showed support for us and it is something we need. It inspires us to do our best,” said Remolino.

Aside from Remolino and Pangilinan, several other Cebuanos are also seeing action in the SEA Games. They are beach volleyball players Edmar Bonono and Cherry Ann Rondina, basketball players, JuneMar Fajardo, Greg Slaughters and Roger Ogoy, marathoner Mary Joy Tabal, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, dancesporters Wilbert Aunzo and Pearl Caneda,taekwondo jins Nica Garces , Aidaine Laxa and Rinna Babanto, judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, metallic silhouette air rifle shooter Larry Avila, cue artists Rubilyn Amit and  Warren Kiamco, wakeboarder Ralph Trinidad –weightlifter John Fabuar Ceniza and Elreen Ann Ando, arnister  Dexler Bolambao, mountainbiker Niño Surban, obstacle course racer Sherwin Managuil , gymnast Daniela Reggie dela Pisa, sepak takraw artists Rheyjhey Ortouste and Metodio Suico, among others.

The Philippines received the South East Asian Games flame from 2017 host Malaysia in a handover ceremony at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur last month.

From Malaysia, the golden lantern, carrying the SEA Games flame, was brought to the Philippines last October 3.

The torch relay series kicked off in Davao City, hometown of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, early this month and passed on to Cebu yesterday.

From Cebu, it will be brought to Manila, but will first pass through Tagaytay City before it will be transported  to the House of Representatives, the Senate and most likely to President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanan.

From Manila it will be brought to Clark then to the Philippine Arena in Bulacan on November 30 to signal the start of the biennial games.

The Philippines will be going against 10 other countries for supremacy in the most prestigious sporting spectacle in Southeast Asia.  LPM (FREEMAN)

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