IBA, ZAMBALES–Olympian bronze winner Hidilyn Diaz hopes to inspire the participants of the 2017 Private Schools Athletic Association Sports Foundation, Inc. (PRISAA) National Games when she delivers a speech on Sunday’s opening ceremony scheduled late in the afternoon at the Zambales Sports Complex here.
Diaz, the only medalist in Philippine contingent during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will speak before more than 4,500 athletes after lighting the urn of peace and friendship with fellow lifters Asian Youth Junior silver medalist Maria Dessa delos Santos (53kg) and bronze medalist Kristel Macrohon (63kg).
Diaz, a product of the Universidad de Zamboanga Weightlifting Training Center headed by veteran coach and educator Elbert Atilano Sr., was named 2016 Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Athlete of the Year following her silver performance in the 53kg division. Her effort ended the Philippines’ 20-year medal drought in the Olympics after boxer Mansueto Velasco won the silver in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Zambales Gov. Amor Deloso is the special guest of honor during the opening ceremony which will begin with the parade of athletes and officials from 17 regions.
Carrying the theme “Building a Strong Filipino Nation Through Sports”, this year’s PRISAA National Games features 18 sports namely athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, chess, dance sports, football, karatedo, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball and weightlifting.
The PRISAA is the only league conducting nationwide annual tournaments among private schools in both youth (17 years and under) and senior (18-24 years old) divisions.