NINE gold medals in track and field, including the meet's first one in the 5,000-meter run, will be disputed on Tuesday as the POC-PSC Batang Pinoy 2012 gets down to business at the Marikina Sports Complex.
City Mayor Del De Guzman and Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco Jr., on Monday officially opened the Games which serves as the National Capital Region leg of the annual sporting event for athletes 15 years old and younger.
"Aside from discovering talents we are looking at increasing the number of participants,'' said Commissioner Jolly Gomez of the Philippine Sports Commission, adding organizers expect to hit their target of 7,000 athletes this year. 'We are creating a pool of young athletes for the national sports associations.''
PSC chair Richie Garcia gave the keynote speecch, while Department of Education regional director Luz Almeda and superintendent Eduardo Lopez also gave inspiring messages to athletes seeing action in archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, boxing, chess, karatedo, lawn tennis, swimming, taekwondo, table tennis, judo and girls volleyball.
The Batang Pinoy is primarily a local government-based event for both in-school and out-of-school youths, although Gomez said most of the athletes are still students.
He added that the PSC has set aside P23 million for the Games which will also have legs in Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao before the national finals in Bacolod City.