SAN SIMON -- More than 120 athletes from all over the country participated in the recently-concluded Open Pingpong (Sandpaper) National Tournament held in San Simon High School here.
The competition, held on September 13 to 15, served as the elimination round for the athletes that will be representing the country in the Pingpong Tournament World Championship set in London next year.
Players of various ages including 11-year-old Aljay Villena, the youngest in the roster, participated in the said open tournament in the hope of bringing pride and honor to the country through ther chosen sports.
Villena, who is a silver-medal holder in the recently-concluded 2019 National Batang Pinoy Tournament, came all the way from Nueva Ecija province to showcase his talent and inspire fellow youth in engaging to sports.
“I am hopeful that I will get the chance to represent our country in the world championship but above that, I wanted to inspire my fellow youth in engaging theirselves to sports, not necessarily pingpong, instead of spending much time playing mobile games,” he said. .
Mayor Abundio “Jun" Punsalan, Jr., meanwhile, expressed gratitude to the tournament organizers for choosing San Simon as the venue for their event this year.
“It is a pride and honor for us Simonians to host this national event and we are very thankful to be given the chance to showcase the renowned Kapampangan hospitality and of course, our famous Kapampangan cuisines,” he said.
Punsalan also noted that the hosting of the tournament is a boost to the local government's campaign on sports development aimed at urging Simonians, especially youth, to be involved in healthier and more worthwhile activities
“We are promoting sports, not only pingpong, as a hobby for the Simonians instead of playing video games and other possible unhealthy or illegal activities that some youth are engaged with nowadays,” he said.