Ilagan, Isabela—A week of light rains and cloudy weather conditions, brought about by the arrival of the northeast monsoon, will welcome the start of the Luzon qualifying leg of the Philippine Sports Commission’s Batang Pinoy 2019 here today.
For the farmers within the Cagayan Valley region, this is a sign of a good planting season, and a bountiful harvest in the months to come. The rainy weather is a sharp contrast to the dry conditions experienced in other parts of the country.
For young student athletes from seven regions who converged at the Ilagan Sports Complex here, this will be an opportunity to show a great performance under windy, cool and wet conditions.
“Now that we are improving the quality of competitions in the Batang Pinoy, I think more junior athletes will be picked up here to join international competitions as well,” said commissioner Celia Kiram before simple opening ceremonies got the Games going yesterday afternoon.
Philippine Sports Commission board members Charles Maxey and Ramon Fernandez, and Ilagan City Vice Mayor Vedasto Villanueva and Ricky Laggui, city general services office chief were also around to grace the opening rites.
Fourteen gold medals are at stake on Day 1 in swimming and athletes from Baguio City could make a big splash again.
The medals at stake in swimming are in the boys and girls 200m individual medley for both 12 years old and under and 13-15 years old as well as the 100m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 1500m free and 800m free.
Baguio City bets, which dominated the national finals last year, are expected to make their presence felt again.
Last year, Baguio City ruled the national finals with 85 golds, 81 silvers and 103 bronzes.
To get the games going smoothly, the agency has allocated P35-million to the City of Ilagan for its hosting expenses, with P15-million allocated to sports equipment.
“Many national sports association are letting their athletes join the Batang Pinoy. This is now considered as the best grassroots development program as far as the PSC is concerned in getting the best junior athletes available,” added Kiram, who noted that top athletes like weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, sprinter Samantha Limos and boxer Crizstian Laurente were developed during the competitions.
While it was Baguio City’s wushu and taekwondo bets which got the most medals, they could also get more in other events.
And that’s after grabbing a total of 46 gold medals back in 2018.
Quezon City is also expected to come up with a big show after finishing second to Baguio City the last time around.
The agency, according to Kiram, has faith in the capability the City of Ilagan in hosting big sporting activities of both national and international level. This is after having handled Southeast Asian Youth athletic meets in the last three years.
Over 4717 athletes from 120 local government units are expected to participate in the Luzon qualifying leg.
Action also unfolds in badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, futsal, lawn tennis, sepak takraw, softball, table tennis, volleyball and beach volley at different venues scattered all over in this first-class city considered as the country’s corn capital.
The centerpiece athletics meet commences on Thursday at the main hub, along with dance sport at the Brgy. San Felipe Covered Court.
The PSC’s grassroots sporting event for in-school and out-of-school children for kids aged 15 years old and below will run until March 23.