THE organizers of the Visayas leg of the Milo Little Olympics underscored their intent on keeping the national title and are focused on fielding in quality athletes in events they are weak in.

Organizer Ricky Ballesteros said last year, the weakest link in Visayas was in taekwondo.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

“We raised our standards and we will only allow blackbelts in the advanced level,” said taekwondo tournament manager Rene Brojan.

Ballesteros added they have been encouraging the athletes to continue training and improve their skills.

Visayas emerged as the over-all-champion last year and hopes to retain that title despite lsoing some of the best players who have already graduated.

“This year, we are making sure that we have the best players. We are not after the quantity but with the quality of players that will be competing,” Brojan added.

Ballesteros said they are also giving importance on the sport that had caused several controversies—gymnastics.

On top of several allegations of biased judging, a coach pulled out his athletes, claiming he felt disrespected when an athlete made a rude gesture at him at the end of the athlete’s routine.

“We know it will be a problem sport. So to prevent anymore untoward incident, we hired judges from all regions,” said Ballesteros.

He added judges are very limited and he asked the Department of Education to train more officials for the sport.

Meanwhile, Milo executive Pat Goc-ong hopes the national finals on Oct. 15, 16 and 17 in Cagayan de Oro will duplicate Cebu’s hosting last year.

“The hosting of Cebu was very impressive and well-organized. We hope CDO can do the same,” Goc-ong said.

Goc-ong added they are giving each region an opportunity to host. Lingayen, Pangasinan will get the chance next year. NCR will host in 2012 and back to Cebu in 2013.

Goc-ong added they decided to let Cebu host again because it is one of the cities in the Visayas that has competent technical people to help manage the event.

“Cebu is a strategic location but we are considering having key cities in Central Visayas host the nationals in the near future. Right now, we are focus on how to improve the event and how to manage it well,” Goc-ong said.

More than 200 schools and over 5,000 participants will be joining this year’s 15th edition, which opens tomorrow at the Cebu City Sports Center.