WITH Cebuana Olympian Mary Joy Tabal still at her peak, the Philippine Sports Commision (PSC) is already looking for the next running star from the grassroots.
The search will start in the 2018 Sinulog Fun Run on Jan. 7 at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC), which will be the first of multiple sporting events that’s part of PSC’s Visayan Open Tournament.
“We will jumpstart the Visayas Open 2018 with a series of events for the year,” said PSC’s Boobie Kintanar. “We want to discover new talent from the youth.”
PSC is targeting athletes who are 22 years old and younger, and the most promising among them will be part of the Visayas training pool in running.
“Our goal is to find the next Joy Tabal in the Visayas,” said Philippine Sports Institute director Nonie Lopez. “We want to find them now at age 12 or at age 16, not at age 20 because it will be too late. At age 12, they will be guided before they get to 16 or 20. They’ll peak at the right moment. Some coaches find them only after competing in high school and college. We want to know their potential as early as we can.”
The youth division will have three categories--3K for the Under 12s, 5K for the Under 16s and 10K for the Under 22s. All youth participants get to register for free.
The PSC will get the top five finishers each for girls and boys in the Under-14, Under-16, Under-18, Under-20 and Under-22, for a total of 60 runners, and put them in a training pool.
The 60 athletes will then compete with the rest of the runners of Visayas in the Visayas Open Marathon in August in Iloilo City.
“Every year, we will have two marathons and we will have a total of 120 runners in the pool. In three years, we will have a pool of 360 runners,” said Lopez.
Every weekend for 12 weeks, the runners in the pool will train under the tutelage of coach Philip Duenas.
“This is a very notable project. We will look for a way to make it more meaningful but still keep the fun side of the run. It’s the best time to start the year and make it a sporting year. Make people more health conscious,” said CCSC general manager Ricky Ballesteros.
The 2018 Sinulog Fun Run is also open to the running public with three distances: 3K, 5K and 10K. (RSC)