BACOLOD City: The Batang Pinoy national finals begin with 18 gold medals at stake in athletics at the Pana-ad Park and Stadium here.
Philippine Sports Commissioner (PSC) Jolly Gomez said that a total of 2,200 athletes, who won medals in regional competitions are aiming to win in the Batang Pinoy finals to bag a slot in the National Youth training pool.
“We are very happy that the Batang Pinoy returned to its first host when it started in 1999. We are expecting exciting competitions because this is already the national finals and all participants here are already regional winners,” said Mayor Monico Puentevella, a former PSC commissioner and creator of Batang Pinoy, the government’s grassroots sports development program.
Athletes 15-year-old and below will be competing in the four-day meet. Among the 21 sports featured are arnis, chess, softball, tae kwon do, basketball, sepak takraw, weightlifting, karatedo, wrestling, athletics, swimming, triathlon, cycling, boxing, dancesport, cheerdance, volleyball, lawn tennis, table tennis and badminton.
“It’s good that the annual competition is back here in Bacolod. All systems go and we are offering to the people of Bacolod very exciting competitions. These young athletes are the ones that we would like to nurture,” said PSC Chairman Richie Garcia.
Host city Bacolod fielded at least 375 athletes while 824 bets are from Luzon, 647 from the Visayas, 569 from Mindanao and 200 from co-host Negros Occidental.