Delegates from Baguio City for the Batang Pinoy national games arrived in Puerto Princesa City Friday to defend its overall title in the annual youth multi-sport event.
The delegation of some 272 athletes and coaches from the Pines City is the team to beat in the weeklong Batang Pinoy national finals which will stage 31 events in different venues in the city.
Many of the athletes will play combat sports — 26 in judo and 24 in arnis.
Futsal coach Jose II Pumihic told Palawan News they are focused to retain their 2018 championship crown.
“The goal for this Batang Pinoy national finals is to top again kasi last year we ranked one. Kasama doon ang honor ng city namin at ng mga bata, hopefully, in this competition we will retain the overall title again,” he said.
Pumihic said one of the challenges their athletes will face is the weather as they are used to living in a cool climate.
“Most of us, those from Baguio and from the whole Cordillera athletes ang kalaban talaga namin ay ang init kaya kailangan talaga naming mag-adopt sa ibang lugar na napupuntahan namin katulad dito sa Puerto Princesa City. Actually, mabuti dito hindi pa ganoon kainit ngayon kasi inaasahan namin ay mas mainit pa. So far siguro ‘yon lang din ang isa sa mga alam namin na challenge then of course ‘yong competition,” Pumihic said.
He said they have started their training since January because of the other events aside from Batang Pinoy.
He said also that they are aiming to produce local martial artists who will be able to compete in other national competitions.
“Baguio is producing martial artists kasi Cordillera is known for tribal warriors, nandoon pa rin ang blood sa mga kabataan kaya siguro hanggang ngayon ay ganoon ang field ng mga athletes. Isa pa rin siguro ay napaka-supportive ng city namin pagdating sa mga martial arts training,” he added.
Last year, Baguio won 83 gold, 81 silver, and 107 bronze medals or 271 total haul from the national finals. Most of the medals were won from playing wushu, taekwondo, judo, and wrestling.
Michie Meneses of the City Tourism Office (CTO) who welcomed them at the airport, said the Baguio delegates will be billeted at the Sta. Monica Elementary School.
“Dumating na ‘yong delegation from Baguio City. Ang dami nila — sila ata ‘yong nag-champion last year. Ididiretso sila sa school kung saan sila titira for the duration of Batang Pinoy para makapagpahinga,” she said.
Of the 10,000 delegates, Meneses said over 6,000 are athletes and 3,000 are coaches who will participate in 31 events of the Batang Pinoy.
The athletes will be billeted in 16 schools, 10 of which are Sta. Monica Elementary School, Sta. Monica High School, F. Ubay Memorial Elementary School, Manuel Austria Memorial Elementary School, Sicsican Elementary School, Sicsican High School, Puerto Princesa Science High School, Palawan National School, Puerto Princesa Pilot Elementary School, and San Jose National High School.