DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 Sept) – Cagayan de Oro City will host the Mindanao qualifying leg of this year’s Philippine Youth Games – Batang Pinoy on November 7 to 11.
Thousands of young potential athletes from various local government units (LGUs) in the island are expected to converge in Northern Mindanao’s regional center to vie for the right to represent their LGUs to the national finals.
A total of 10 sport disciplines will be competed in the week-long event, including medal-rich swimming and athletics, arnis, boxing, badminton, chess, karatedo, lawn tennis, taekwondo and table tennis.
Apart from staging the qualifying sport events, the national finals for golf and pencak silat will be played in Cagayan de Oro, the capital of Misamis Oriental also known as the “City of Golden Friendship.”
Atty. Leon Du M. Gan, Cagayan de Oro City administrator, and Atty. Jay Alano, head of the National Events and Competition Office of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), recently discussed the role of the city government as host of the games.
The PSC will bankroll the conduct of the games for children 15 years old and below while the LGU will shoulder the expenses of their participation in the Batang Pinoy games that serves as the national sports competition program for in- and out-of-school youth.
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and National Sports Associations (NSA), both non-government entities and internationally recognized authorities in different sports, shall run and oversee the technical management of the event, according to the PSC.
The top finishers in the qualifying sport events will march their way to the national finals slated December 8 to 11 in Ilo-ilo City.
In an interview, Pochollo Elegino, Davao City Sports Development Division officer-in-charge, said they are now preparing for their participation in the Mindanao qualifying of the Batang Pinoy games, which was held last year in Zamboanga City.
“As far as I am concerned, I want to join in all the qualifying events to give our athletes a chance to showcase their skills in a competition like this,” Elegino told MindaNews.
“But it is subject to the availability of funds as advised to me by the Office of the City Mayor,” he added.
Davao City placed second in the Mindanao qualifying event last year behind the host city, Zamboanga City, which bagged the overall championship with a total medal haul of 85 golds, 105 silvers and 61 bronzes.
Led by its swimmers, judokas and arnis competitors, Davao City collected 36 gold medals, 31 silvers and 47 bronzes.
After the Mindanao leg, a qualifying tournament will be conducted in Tacloban City, Leyte for the Visayas leg. Three legs were conducted earlier in the National Capital Region (Marikina City), Northern Luzon (Pangasinan) and Southern Luzon (Oriental Mindoro).
The Batang Pinoy Games, which was last held in 2004 in Puerto Princesa City, was revived last year to boost the country’s search for future national team standouts.
“We revived the program because of the PSC mandate of grassroots development and the need to expand the base of young athletes,” PSC chairman Ricardo Garcia had said.
“Yes we’ve got college-level athletes very much on the radar, but Batang Pinoy will enable us to reach further and tap that athletic talent before it even blooms, identifying the really young athletes so they can have the best training they deserve,” he added. (Rico Biliran / MindaNews)