Photo by Den Opiala for Palawan News

Another international sports event is set to be held in Puerto Princesa as mayor Lucilo Bayron accepted the invitation to host the World Table Tennis Youth Championships in October this year.

Philippine National Table Tennis Federation (PNTTF) president Ting Ledesma said that it didn’t take long to convince Bayron for the city to host the sports event.

Ledesma is in Puerto Princesa for the PNTFF’s National Selection at the Ramon V. Mitra Sports Complex on Wednesday.

“Pumunta kami dito [noong] first week of January. Hindi po tumagal yung usapan namin kinuha agad ni mayor yung hosting ng WTT youth contingents,” Ledesma said.

He added that this encouraged them to offer Bayron the opportunity to host the PNTTF National Selection as preparation for the international table tennis competition.

The PNTTF National Selection serves as the national qualifier for the table tennis competition of the South East Asian (SEA) Games in Cambodia this May.

Bayron sees hosting the table tennis world championship in October back-to-back with the IRONMAN 70.3 in November as opportunities to promote Puerto Princesa as a “sports tourism destination” and foster economic development in the city.

“Pag sinabi nating 19 years old and below, ang youngest player nyan 6 years old. Pag 6 years old ang maglalaro sigurado kasama ang magulang nyan so dadami yung tao na darating dito. Players, coaches, parents, gaganda ang economy natin. Kung titingnan niyo, October ito kasunod agad yung IRONMAN 2023 natin,” he said.

“Yung tourism hindi pwedeng isa lang talaga yung tinatarget mo na type of tourism. Matibay-tibay tayo ecotourism, tapos isa sa pwede nating patibayin yung sports tourism,” the mayor said.

Bayron also said that Puerto Princesa has been reaping what has been largely invested in the development of sports facilities in the city, such as the Ramon V. Mitra Sports Complex.

“Lahat ng ginawa dito sa Sports Complex sa preparasyon yan para doon. Ang laki ng investment natin dito sa mga covered courts na ito. Pero hindi tayo nagkamali kasi ngayon pinakikinabangan na natin,” he added.

***Darrius Jeremiah Miguel and Den Opiala, senior high school students at Puerto Princesa City National Science High School, are media interns at Palawan News under the Humanities and Social Sciences Work Immersion Program.

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