CAPAS, Tarlac – Around 52 delegates from Tarlac State University paraded at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium for the 2023 National SCUAA Games opening program today (October 1).
TSUian champions and some selected athletes from the SCUAA III Olympics last February 2023 are among the 240 representatives of Central Luzon in the National State Colleges and Universities Athletic Association (SCUAA).
Aside from sending athletes, TSU also prepared for the return of the in-person national sports meet by accommodating participants from nine regions on its three campuses.
"Sa preparation, nire-ready namin ang mga qualified athletes for the region, sa mga requirements, outside tournaments, and 'yung approved six-day rigid training. Tapos ang PASUC nag-ocular, sinama kaming lahat, isa ang Tarlac sa mga ina-eye to host the activity. And they decided na dito na," TSU sports director Dr. Ligaya Gina Salangsang said in an interview.
"Wala talagang iho-host na regions ang TSU for accommodation. Pero dahil sister state university natin dito sa Tarlac Province ang TAU, nag-usap ng president to president, kaya tinulungan natin," Dr. Salangsang added.
She also thanked the university administration, from TSU President Dr. Arnold Velasco, vice presidents, and college deans to the utility personnel who supported the university's athletes and accommodated the delegations from various regions.
"'Yung culture ng TSU pagdating sa mga athletes natin, all out support ang administration, (gaya ng) pagha-house sa kanila sa hotel, nandoon 'yung mga coaches nila na laging nakaalalay, kaya all out ang support natin to make sure na ready tayo for the competition," Pres. Velasco said in an interview.
Moreover, as the main SUC host, Tarlac Agricultural University (TAU) tapped TSU and the Tarlac Province to use their facilities as additional sports venues.
"Ako po ay tuwang-tuwa ngayong umaga kasi napili niyo po ang Tarlac. Sa matagal na panahon, nag-iisip kami kung paano ang mga biyahero ay pahintuin sa aming probinsya," Tarlac Province Governor Susan Yap said during the opening ceremony.
"Noong lumapit po ang TAU President Max Guillermo na sabi niya plano dito gawin ang (national) SCUAA dahil five years na raw pong hindi naganap ito, hindi po ako nagdalawang isip. Full support po kami. Ako mas excited kaysa sa inyo just to see everyone that's here. Enjoy the facilities, enjoy our province," Gov. Yap added.
Region III SUCs sports director Dr. Lorena Bermillo, also the TAU sports director, noted that their university was given only three months to prepare for the nationwide higher education sports event.
TAU President Dr. Max Guillermo underscored that the National SCUAA Games is "more than just a sporting competition" as it also serves as a "platform to showcase the students' exceptional athletic talents and unwavering dedication to their academic pursuits."
Meanwhile, Dr. Tirso A. Ronquillo, president of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges and Batangas State University, led the formal declaration of the National SCUAA's opening.
The 16 regions will compete in various sporting events starting October 1, with the concluding program and awarding on October 7.
TSU will represent Region III in baseball, futsal, and chess. Meanwhile, some athletics, volleyball, and basketball players were selected by winning SUCs to be part of their roster of athletes.
The last National SCUAA Games, staged every two years, was held in 2018 in the Antique Province of Western Visayas. In 2020, the national sports meet was temporarily halted due to the pandemic.
Photos by Franc Lewis R. Juanatas, Eduardo F. Laxamana Jr.