BAGUIO athletes will be marked anew as the Luzon qualifying leg of the Batang Pinoy kicks of March 16 in Ilagan, Isabela.
Fresh from defending the Caraa title just few weeks ago in Apayao, the Summer Capital bets are off to Isabela as a favorite after romping away with the national title last year when it hosted the almost weeklong event spearheaded by the Philippine Sports Commission.
Gaudencio Gonzales, Baguio City sports coordinator, said the city is sending some 450 athletes and coaches for the qualifying leg where a total of 19 sports will be played.
“Our athletes will be a heavy favorite because we are the national champion,” said Gonzales of the national competition for athletes under 15 years old.
Events on tap include archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, chess, dancesport, futsal, karatedo, lawn tennis, pencak silat, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo and indoor and outdoor volleyball will be played during the qualifying leg including futsal.
The PSC said nine other sports namely cycling, gymnastics, judo, muaythai, rugby football, triathlon, weightlifting, wrestling, and wushu will be played straight to the national championships.
Almost P15 million worth of sports equipment from PSC will be given to the local government unit of Ilagan, Isabela as hosts for Batang Pinoy.
Chairman William Ramirez, during an earlier signing of memorandum of agreement said as host LGUs cooperate with PSC in the staging of Batang Pinoy, the PSC is also eager to help them produce home grown talents by supporting their grassroots sports programs.
During the 2017 Luzon qualifying leg held in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Baguio topped the event after scooping 44 gold medals, 45 silvers and 41 bronze medals with Laguna and Dasmariñas landing second and third while Pangasinan and Quezon City placed foruth and fifth respectively.
The Batang Pinoy was established through EO No. 44 which was signed by then President Joseph Estrada on Dec. 2, 1998.
Bacolod City hosted the inaugural staging in 1999.