President Duterte to grace Batang Pinoy opener
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 08, 2016 05:32 PM
Philippine Sports Commissioner Celia Kiram talks about the upcoming 2016 Batang Pinoy in Tagum City.
Tagum City will be home to 11,332 delegates for about a week when it hosts this year’s national finals of the Batang Pinoy.
The Nov. 27 to Dec. 2 meet features 600 events in 26 sports discipline among athletes 17-years-old-and-below, and marks the first national multi-sports tournament to be held under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Philippine Sports Commissioner Celia Kiram disclosed during the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey’s Malate on Tuesday that the Chief Executive has been invited to be the guest of honor for the opening ceremony of the annual event being held at a total cost of P50 million.
“May possibility na dumating siya. Hopefully, the event will be graced by the President,” said Kiram.
No qualifying legs were held this year as had been the practice in the past since the new PSC leadership under chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez only assumed office last June.
“Since bago lang kami, one national tournament muna this year and then pag-aaralan further kung will be holding different legs in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao next year,” added the only lady commissioner in the PSC Board.
Batang Pinoy program director Larry Domingo said the number of delegates increased this year following the government sports agency’s decision to increase the age bracket from the previous limit of 15-years-old-and-below.
“Medyo marami ngayon because of that, at nagdagdag tayo ng events based on age, bracketing, and weight categories,” added Domingo, who joined Kiram and Mark Velasco of the Philippine Sports of Institute in the forum.
This year’s Batang Pinoy edition will also have the PSI identifying and monitoring all medal winners.
“We’ll have data in terms of athletes, follow-up studies on them, and closely monitoring yung progress nila,” stressed Velasco. “At the same time, we’ll be giving training support sa mga coaches nila.”
Kiram said medal winners in the meet hopefully, can be trained and tapped to represent the country in international events such as Children of Asia International Sports Games and the Youth Olympic Games.
“Meron tayong pupuntahan at paglalagyan ng mga atleta natin,” she said.
“And hopefully, magkakaroon na naman tayo ng gold medalist sa YOG,” added Kiram, obviously referring to archer Gabriel Moreno who won for the country its first gold medal in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China two years ago.