Philippine National Games calendar of events trimmed down, but qualifying expanded to three legs

ORGANIZERS of the Philippine National Games hope to discover new talent in the provinces by holding qualifying events Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao this year before the national finals in 2016.

The meet will also now have on 28 sports, from a previous high of 45, with focus on sports calendared in the Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games.

Around 8,000 athletes participated last year, and organizers expect the same number this year.

"We're widening, kasi kung Luzon lang tayo, one time lang yung games, we don't have enough representatives from Visayas and Mindanao because of financial limits," said PSC head of national events and competition Jovita Fe Alano on Tuesday in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at Shakey's Malate.

Athletes who are not members of the national pool battle it out for top honors in track and field, badminton and taekwondo, among other events starting with the Luzon qualifiers from July 2 to 6 at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, Philsports Arena and Marikina Sports Complex.

Pagadian City hosts the Mindanao eliminations from Sept. 10 to 14, while the Visayas leg is set in Antique from November 10 to 14.

The PNG is for athletes 16 years old and above, while Batang Pinoy is open to athletes 15 and under.

Organizers are looking to discover more athletes like Mariella Salamat, who participated in the 2013 National Games and went on to win gold in the women’s cycling individual time trial in the Singapore SEA Games last month.

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