BANTAY, ILOCOS SUR -The weeklong Region 1 Athletic Association meet that attracted some 8,000 delegates formally kicked off with spectacular rites presided over by host province Ilocos Sur’s Gov. Ryan Singson at the President Elpidio Quirino Stadium here Saturday. Gov. Singson together with the officials of other provinces and DepEd officials hoisted the R1AA flag followed by raising of flags of the 14 delegations to signal the start of competition. He said that hosting the meet is part of the many sports related activities of the province to raisefurther the bar of sports programs for the best interest of its people, especially the youth. Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) Training Director Mark Albert Velasco who represented Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Butch Ramirez was amazed by Ilocos Sur’s hosting of the R1AA 2017 because of the state of the art football field and other sports facilities. "Kami nga doon sa PSI, walang ganito kagandang stadium. That is why I am very thankful for the support of Gov. Ryan to the PSI" said Velasco as he bared that Ilocos Sur is designated as center for sports training in the region. Gov. Ryan Singson, Vice Governor Jeremias Singson and members of the provincial board warmly welcomed the delegations and offered a convenient and meaningful stay here in the heritage province. Receiving the R1AA banner from Mayor Joseres Resuello of previous host San Carlos CIty, Gov Singson said that this activity proves to be the most memorable as the Quirino Stadium underwent a tremendous change to make it more suitable to major sports events. R1AA 2017 serves as jumping board of Ilocos Sur's bid to host the Palarong Pambansa the previous host San Carlos City in 2018.