Batang Pinoy expected to have 14,000 athletes in time for opening ceremony in Davao
PSC Commissioner Celia Kiram says Davao del Norte is expected to do well as hosts even on short notice. Jerome Ascano

TAGUM City, Davao — The Philippine Sports Commission’s 2016 Batang Pinoy National Championship expects around 14,000 athletes to take part in the meet for athletes 13 to 17 years old and below.

"We have the biggest delegation," said said Comissioner Celia Kiram of the, referring to the expected 14,000 young athletes who will see action in 24 sports starting on Sunday.

"Most of the local government units are now becoming aware of what is Batang Pinoy."

"It only had 700 participants when it started but now it grew to almost 14,000. Meaning, what we are doing is really the best grassroots program for our young filipino children," she added.

Those figures, in fact, would have been higher, according to Batang Pinoy Project Dir. Ronnel Abrenica. 

"Madami pa sana tayo kaso may mga LGUs na hindi nakahabol sa deadline. But we are happy na maraming atletang sumali dito sa Batang Pinoy. Rest assured, yung mga bata may matatanggap na subsidy coming from the PSC," Abrenica said. 

Around 9,000 athletes have registered, according to PSC planning and development chief Lauro Domingo. More are expected to arrive on in time for the opening ceremonies.

"We're expecting 13,744 delegates," Domingo said.

Davao del Norte is confident the province, informed of the hosting only a couple of months ago, will be able to successfully stage the event. Provincial Gov. Antonio del Rosario said they can handle the job, since they have hosted the Palarong Pambansa.

"Yung preparation na ganito matagal e, but kahit short notice - two months lang - you can see now the outcome," said Kiram.

"Kaya namin sila kinonsider because of the short preparation period. Alam namin na sila lang may kakayahan to host the national championship on short notice."

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