2-PEAT CHAMP: Iloilo secures WVRAA crown with 488 medal haul

Photo Courtesy of Abanse Negrense Productions

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The schools division of Iloilo reigned supreme after emerging as the overall champion in the Western Visayas Regional Athletics Association (WVRAA) Meet 2024 held in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental from May 2 to 7.

Iloilo clinched the championship title in the medal tally in elementary and secondary regular sports, para games, and demonstration sports.

“We largely credit our win to the preparation, training, and skills of athletes in every particular sports discipline. None of this would have happened without the support of the Iloilo provincial government,” Nicasio Valenzuela, Division Sports Officer of DepEd Division of Iloilo, told Daily Guardian on Wednesday, May 8.

In the elementary level, Iloilo swept the competition with 72 gold medals, 51 silver medals, and 38 bronze medals.

Similarly, in the secondary level, Iloilo continued its winning streak, claiming the championship title once again after garnering 103 gold medals, 76 silver medals, and 64 bronze medals.

Iloilo’s prowess extended to the para games category, where they emerged as the undisputed champions, amassing 37 gold medals, 25 silver medals, and 7 bronze medals.

It continued to showcase its athletic prowess in the demonstration sports category, clinching 6 gold medals, 7 silver medals, and 2 bronze medals.

Negros Occidental trailed as the first runner-up, with Aklan securing the second runner-up position in all categories except in the demonstration sports where Capiz overtook the first runner-up and Aklan secured the second runner-up position.

This marks the second time Iloilo secured the championship title. In last year’s WVRAA in Aklan, it bagged a total of 229 gold, 154 silver, and 100 bronze medals in all categories in the elementary and secondary sporting events.

“We had a wide margin in the elementary sports but what made us even closer to the championship is our performance in the athletics,” Valenzuela added, emphasizing that the WVRAA was a close and tough fight with Negros Occidental.

But Iloilo’s victory was not all glitz and glamor.

Valenzuela mentioned that they faced challenges with the budgetary requirements to support the athletes.

“The challenge was, for example, the training started on March 19, and after that period, when the training concluded, our coaches no longer had a budget since the funds would only be released in Bacolod. Our coaches and the principals of the winning schools had to resource funds from other alternatives just to support the athletes,” he stressed.

From the sports department’s end, Valenzuela said they struggled with the release of funds due to the processes they had to follow as a government entity.

“We cannot immediately release funds; there are processes that we have to adhere to,” he added.


In the Palarong Pambansa 2023, Western Visayas led the initial medal tally but during the penultimate day of the week-long sporting event, the National Capital Region still kept its grip on the championship, eventually securing 16th straight overall champion.

Valenzuela said with most athletes coming from Iloilo, he is positive that Western Visayas can claim the crown at the 2024 Palarong Pambansa to be held in Cebu from July 11 to 15.

The Iloilo sports director said the regional delegation has to double their efforts in several sporting events to trounce the defending champion.

“NCR has a strong point that we are weak. In athletics, for example, we are head to head with them but in gymnastics, we are being left behind,” he said.

“Gymnastics has many individual events and a region can have a big haul of gold medals in that sporting event and that is where NCR gets a notch ahead of us,” Valenzuela added.

He emphasized that the weak spot can only be countered if the region has “intervention with the schools and the team that handles it in Western Visayas.”


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