Batang Pinoy Mindanao stage under way in Tagum
MANILA, Philippines - The Batang Pinoy Games kicks off its Mindanao leg today with over 1,600 participants from 40 cities and provinces in the region competing in 23 sports at the Davao del Norte Sports Complex in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
Davao City is fielding in 200 athletes with eyes on the overall championship while the host city is also making a strong bid with at least 150 athletes ready to defend their turf at nine competition venues spread out within the city.
Hostilities will be on athletics, swimming, taekwondo, karatedo, boxing, chess, judo, wrestling and dancesports, among others with the medal winners qualifying to the Batang Pinoy national championships in Zamboanga City on Nov. 19-23.
Organized by the Philippine Sports Commission, the Batang Pinoy, for athletes 15-year-old-and-below, will also have qualifying legs in the Visayas (Maasin, Leyte) and Luzon (Iba, Zambales) in the next two months prior to the national finals.
PSC chair Richie Garcia will lead the opening rites today along with Davao del Norte Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario, PSC commissioners Jolly Gomez and Akiko Thomson-Guevarra, and Philippine Olympic Committee official Romeo Magat.
Also expected to grace the event are Davao del Norte Vice Gov. Victorio Suaybaguio Jr. and Davao del Norte First District Rep. Anthony del Rosario.
“It’s going to be the biggest Mindanao leg since we started the program two years ago,” said Atty. Jay Alano, this year’s Batang Pinoy project director.
The 2011 Mindanao qualifier attracted only 415 athletes and the 2012 edition in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte had 635 entries from 13 sports.
Despite the turnout in the previous games, Alano said the PSC had discovered a number of talents from athletics, swimming, badminton and boxing with the number expected to grow this year.
The hunt for medals officially begins tomorrow with action in athletics, badminton, boxing, chess, gymnastics (cheerdance), lawn tennis, sepak takraw, softball, table tennis, weightlifting and volleyall.