ILOCOS SUR — No less than Tokyo Olympics silver medalists Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio will spice up the opening ceremony of this year’s Philippine Sports Commission-Batang Pinoy National Championships when it opens this Saturday at the Quirino Stadium in the municipality of Bantay.
The two boxing champions, who are now established names in the sport, are proud products of the PSC’s grassroots programs. Also joining them are fellow national elite athletes, Olympic judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, SEA Games gold medalists Chloe Isleta and Mary Allin Aldeguer.
“The Batang Pinoy program has already produced numerous champions in various sports since it started in 1999. I am sure that the stories of our bemedaled athletes will inspire our young athletes who will be competing in Ilocos Sur, to reach the height they have achieved,” said PSC chairperson Jose Emmanuel “Noli” Eala, who is expected to formally open the Batang Pinoy Games.
Batang Pinoy (National Youth Games) is one of the PSC’s centerpiece programs for grassroots sports. It is aimed to heed the call of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to bring sports closer to every Filipino.
Other VIPs expected to attend the opening rites are host Province of Ilocos Sur Governor Jeremias “Jerry” Singson, Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, as well as chiefs and officials of various national sports association heads.
About 6,000 participants from over 140 local government units are set to gather in the province to compete in nine face-to-face sports namely; archery, athletics, badminton, chess, cycling, table tennis, swimming, weightlifting, and obstacle course racing as demo sport.
Games commence on opening day for archery at San Ildefonso Central School, badminton at the Ilocos Sur Badminton Center, chess at Baluarte Function Hall, swimming at Quirino Stadium, and table tennis at San Vicente Gymnasium.
Eight sports disciplines, arnis, dancesport, judo, karate, muay, pencak silat, taekwondo and wushu, will be virtually held via the PSC Facebook and YouTube platforms.
This year’s edition will also be held in partnership with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, the Department of the Interior and Local Government Unit and the Department of Education, and is co-presented by MILO Philippines, Pocari Sweat Otsuka Solar Philippines, Universal Robina Corporation, Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Globe Telecom and Beautéderm.