MANILA, Philippines – More than 6,000 student athletes from elementary and secondary schools nationwide are expected to troop to Tarlac province in April for the 53rd edition of the Palarong Pambansa.
The annual national scholastic sports competition will be conducted by the Department of Education in collaboration with the Tarlac Provincial Government from April 11 to 17.
The students, who are from private and public schools across the country, will compete in 17 sports disciplines: archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, chess, football, artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo and tennis.
Preliminary meets have been held as pre-requisites for athletes to advance from one level of competition to the next.
The process of selection started with the school intramurals early in the school year. Outstanding players and winners were selected to represent their schools in district meets. Such process is repeated at the provincial and regional levels.
The athletes will compete in various venues in the divisions of elementary boys, elementary girls, secondary boys and secondary girls. The principal Games venue is the Tarlac Recreational Park in San Jose.
Organizers hope that the Palarong Pambansa 2010 will draw more than 100,000 spectators and visitors from all over Central Luzon, Northern Luzon, South Luzon and the National Capital Region (NCR).
Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said he hopes to raise the level of the sporting competition to meet international standards as the Palarong Pambansa is considered a breeding ground for the country’s future champions.
Palaro athletes who were identified and recruited for inclusion in the Philippine national team include Olympians Eric Buhain, Lydia de Vega-Mercado, Elma Muros, Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco, Jr., and Tshomlee Go.