TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte—The Philippine National Youth Games-Batang Pinoy National Championships kicks off today with over 9,000 young athletes set to compete in 26 sports at the Davao Del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex.
Twenty-four gold medals are offered in swimming on the first day of competitions, while action in arnis, archery, lawn tennis, rugby football, baseball, softball, chess, judo and taekwondo also commence in the games, where sporting dreams of the youth begin.
``We are focused and committed on grassroots sports development,’’ said Davao del Norte governor Anthony Del Rosario during Saturday’s press conference.
Del Rosario will officially open the weeklong sports conclave for athletes 17 years old and under, along with House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William Ramirez.
``When I was told about the Batang Pinoy’s goal of producing future national athletes, I knew right away that this is the event that I want to host,’’ said Del Rosario.
Also present during the presser were PSC commissioner Celia Kiram, Batang Pinoy overall project director Ronnel Abrenica and project manager Dr. Lauro Domingo.
``We’re expecting to find more talents to increase the number of athletes in the national training pool,’’ said Ramirez.
Basketball will also start today, along with the one-day cycling races in criterium, road race, BMX and mountain bike events.
Medal-rich athletics is calendared tomorrow along with weightlifting, the sport that gave the Philippines an Olympic silver medal through the efforts of Hidilyn Diaz.
Gymnastics and wushu will be played at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila on Dec. 4 to 11 and Dec. 5 to 8, respectively.