MANILA, Philippines - Dapitan City takes its turn to become launching pad for up-and-coming athletic superstars when it hosts the Mindanao leg of the Philippine Olympic Committee-Philippine Sports Commission Batang Pinoy Games 2012 on Nov. 7-10.
Opening ceremonies will be held Nov. 6 at the sprawling Jose Rizal Memorial State University Sports Complex which will also be venue for centerpiece events of track and field and swimming.
Dapitan City Mayor Patri Bajamunde-Chan is expected to lead the local officials who will welcome the expected thousand athletes who will see action in 11 events, 10 of them qualifying events for the national finals.
"We are looking forward to working side by side with the PSC in discovering athletic talents from this part of the country," said Bejamunde-Chan who recently signed memorandum of agreement with PSC officials.
Batang Pinoy project director, PSC lawyer Jay Alano said: “We believe that Mindanao particularly Zamboanga del Norte is an athletic powerhouse especially in combat sports and athletics.’’
The Visayas leg of the Batang Pinoy was originally set in Cagayan de Oro, but organizers decided Dapitan City is a better choice given its successful 2011 staging of the Palarong Pambansa.
PSC chair Richie Garcia and commissioner Jolly Gomez are also expected to oversee the event. Similar qualifying legs were held for National Capital Region in Marikina City, Northern Luzon in Lingayen, Pangasinan, and Southern Luzon in Calapan, Mindoro Oriental.
Except in pencak silat which is a national final event, the gold and silver medalists in 10 other sports earn slots for the national finals in Iloilo City set for Dec. 5-8.
The Mindanao leg is the fourth of the five-phase qualifying that culminates in Iloilo. Visayas leg will be held Nov. 21-24 in Tacloban City.
Events on tap are arnis, athletics, badminton, boxing, chess, karatedo, lawn tennis, swimming, taekwondo, table tennis and pencak silat.