ILAGAN CITY, Isabela—After Mindanao and Visayas, the country’s search for future young talents goes up North as it stages the Luzon leg of the 2019 Philippine National Youth Games-Batang Pinoy starting today at the City of Ilagan Sports Complex here.
An expected turnout of more than 6,000 in and out-of-school youth athletes aged 15 years and below from 119 local government units including representatives from cities in powerhouse National Capital Region will attend today’s traditional parade of participating colors.
Philippine Sports commissioner Ramon Fernandez will do the welcome remarks in lieu of chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, who skipped the event in the last minute due to a more pressing matter back in Manila, and will be joined by fellow commissioners Charles Maxey and Celia Kiram, host Ilagan City Mayor Evelyn Diaz and Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy III.
Fernandez said they will not stop from scraping talents not just from the big cities but the countryside with hopes of producing future gold medalists in international events like the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and the Olympics.
“We saw some athletes with potentials in the Mindanao and Visayas legs and we hope to discover more here in Luzon,” said Fernandez.
A total of 1,260 medals—420 golds, 420 silvers and 420 bronzes—will be up for grabs in 20 different sports disciplines that included centerpiece athletics, which is set to unfold on Wednesday, and medal-rich swimming, which is unveiling tomorrow, both at the City of Ilagan Sports Complex.
Batang Pinoy project director Atty. Guillermo Iroy said everything is all set.
“We’re expecting a really big turnout compared to the Visayas and Mindanao Legs but we the PSC along with the City of Ilagan and Isabela province are ready and prepared for everything,” said Iroy.
Iroy also said the light rain showers will not in a way delay the staging of the weeklong event.
“We will proceed as scheduled,” he said.
Action officially starts tomorrow in 18 of the 20 events—swimming, archery, arnis, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, chess, futsal, karatedo, lawn tennis, pencak silat, sepak takraw, softball, table tennis taekwondo, indoor and beach volleyball.
Dancesport is scheduled to come off the wraps Thursday.
Meanwhile, the organizing PSC sent a memo to all Batang Pinoy delegations discouraging the use of plastic bottles during the event.
“Plastics, most especially single-used plastics such as water bottles, are discouraged in the conduct of the Luzon leg of the Batang Pinoy. Please bring your tumblers or reusable plastic bottles as water dispensers will be made available at the different competition venues,” it said.