S Luzon bets begin quest for reg'l honors

The Philippine Star

Posted at Oct 24 2012 02:20 PM | Updated as of Oct 24 2012 10:20 PM

CALAPAN, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines – The Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission’s search for future stars resumes today when the Batang Pinoy Games fires off here for the Southern Luzon qualifying leg.

Over 600 student-athletes 15-years-old-and-below from 12 local government units begin their battle for medals in various fronts and possibly spots in the national pool as action gets going in athletics and swimming at the Jose Leido Memorial National High School.

Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr. and PSC chairman Richie Garcia and commissioner Jolly Gomez graced yesterday’s opening rites along with Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Vice Gov. Rodolfo Valencia and other top local officials.

Host Oriental Mindoro and Calapan have field in 220 athletes expected to deliver in 11 sports as they try to defend their fort against top entries from Laguna, Lucena City, Antipolo City, Cavite City, Imus and Dasmariñas (Cavite), Tanauan, Batangas, San Pedro and Sta. Rosa (Laguna) and Lucban, Quezon.

Other events on tap in the five-day meet are arnis, badminton, boxing, chess, karatedo, lawn tennis, taekwondo, table tennis and wrestling.

“This is a rare chance for the best young athletes in the region to come out and show off their skills. We’re excited to find such talents here in the Batang Pinoy and help them maximize their potentials,” said Gomez.

The Southern Luzon meet is the third of five regional qualifying legs for the Batang Pinoy culminating in the national championships in Iloilo City on Dec. 5-8. The next leg is set Nov. 7-10 in Dapitan City for the Mindanao leg while Tacloban City will host the final regional meet (Visayas) on Nov. 21-24.

The National Capital Region qualifying was held last month in Marikina City while Lingayen, Pangasinan hosted for the Northern Luzon leg two weeks ago.

Medal winners in the finals could earn slots in the national developmental pool and represent the country in the 2013 Asian Youth Games and 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China.

Lawn tennis will also be played at JJ Leido Memorial National HS while taekwondo is scheduled to see action at the Gov. Umali Memorial Gym.

Other venues are Adriatico Elementary School Gym (arnis and chess), Anahaw Resort (badminton), Calapan City Plaza (boxing), Neo Calapan Mall (karatedo and table tennis) and Brgy. Sto. Niño covered gym (wrestling).