Nine golds in track and field, including what is expected to be the meet’s first gold-medal in 5,000-meter run, will be disputed Tuesday as the POC-PSC Batang Pinoy 2012 gets down to business at the Marikina Sports Complex.
City Mayor Del de Guzman and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., opened the games Monday which serves as the National Capital Region (NCR) leg of the annual sporting event for the country’s 15-year olds and younger.
“Aside from discovering talents, we are looking at increasing the number of participants,” said Philippine Sports Commissioner (PSC) Jolly Gomez who bared they are hitting the target of 7,000 athletes this year.
“We are creating a pool of young athletes for the national sports associations,” he said.
PSC chairman Richie Garcia gave the keynote speech, while Department of Education (DepEd) regional director Luz Almeda and superintendent Eduardo Lopez also gave inspiring messages to the competing athletes who will see action in archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, boxing, chess, karatedo, lawn tennis, swimming, taekwondo, table tennis, judo and girls volleyball.
Gomez said the outstanding athletes here can get a chance to be sent in sports exchange program the same way 15 athletes were brought to London this year courtesy of the British Council.
The PSC commissioner said they are trying to make alliance with groups in the United States, Australia and China to forge a partnership.
Gomez said the games, which was revived last year after getting mothballed for years, is aimed at closing the gap between the athletes in the elementary level and high school.
“We want to create a continuous measuring stick for athletes who are too old to compete in Palaro elementary level and too young for high school,” said Gomez. “We noticed that in Palarong Pambansa some of the athletes who excelled in elementary drop out, the same thing happens in high school. We wanted to plug the holes on these gaps.'”
The Batang Pinoy is primarily a local government-based event for both in-school and out-of-school youths, although Gomez said most of the athletes are still students.