June 17, 2024

■  Ofelia C. Empian

This year’s staging of the Benguet CARES (Cordillera Athletic Recognition  for Excellence in Sports) Awards awarded 80 athletes and coaches from all over the region for their strong showing in various recent national and international sports competitions.

Now in its third year, the awards ceremony held on April 5 at the Newtown Plaza Hotel in Baguio City recognized Islay Erika Bomogao and Emmanuel Cantores as female and male athletes of the year, respectively.

Bomogao was recognized for her feat as the first Filipina International Federation of Muay Thai Associations (IFMA) 2023 World Champion and being a bronze medalist in Kun Bokator in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.

Cantores, on the other hand, bagged a silver medal in the vovinam men’s 60 kilogram of the in the Cambodia SEA Games and another silver medal in the 7th World Vovinam VietVoDao Championship 2023 in Vietnam.

Also recognized as female coach of the year was Lou Ann Ramos for gaining a gold medal as Philippine team coach in aquathlon and duathlon in the SEA Games Cambodia while male coach of the year went to Edzel Ngina for training Bomogao and other Muay Thai athletes of the Philippine team.

The late coach Pablo Khayog, Jr., through his family, was the recipient of the posthumous award for his contribution in enhancing sports, particularly baseball in the province.

A total of 29 athletes received the major citations led by lady darter of the year 2023 Giselle Bulahao, who conquered the international stage with her win in the Malaysian Open and Johor Open 2023 ladies’ singles titles in Malaysia.

Multi-awarded kickboxing athlete turned boxer Claudine Veloso was also cited among the major citation recipients where she was a finalist in the recent First Olympic World Qualifier in boxing in Italy and gold medalist in the kickboxing event of the SEA Games Cambodia.    

Other recipients of the major citations include combative athletes and coaches Jason Baucas, Jason Balabal, Carlo Von Buminaang, Ariel Lee Lampacan, Crisamuel Delfin, Mariane Mariano, Jedd Andre Kim, Aeron Lance Kim, Jones Inso, Jean Claude Saclag, Jaybe Ban-eg, April Joy La Madrid, Charmea Quelino, Jerlyn Kingad, Bryan Olod, Thornton Lou Sayan, Godwynn Langbayan, Zaidi Laruan, Kurt Lubrica, Felix Dave Cantores, and Zyra Bon-as, Jenelyn Olsim, Jeremy Pacatiw, Gina Iniong-Araos, Honorio Banario, Danny Kingad, and Vinson Ramos, the lone marathoner among the group from Itogon.

The 39 other athletes from various sports events who hail from the province received the minor citation award during the annual awards ceremony organized by the provincial government of Benguet acknowledging the outstanding works of athletes and coaches in the past year.  

Special awards went to taekwondo coach and trainers and members of the Samahang Taekwondo ng Pilipinas: brothers Danrey and Dominic Velo, Elton John Tumlayen, and Jeremy Fagayan, Jr.

Also given special awards for their outstanding work as technical officials during the 22nd Asia Masters Athletics Championship in Tarlac City were Emerson Hadsan, Harold Bacuso, and Johnerjie Juan.