FOLLOWING the success of some of its discoveries in the recent 28th Southeast Asian Games, the Philippine National Games (PNG) hopes to unearth more talent behind its new format this year.
The 2015 edition of the meet will hold qualifying events in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao ahead of the national finals slated tentatively in February of next year.
Winners in the qualifiers will advance to the national finals where they will compete against current crops of national athletes.
The new set-up was adopted this year after some of PNG’s products delivered for the country in the last SEA Games in Singapore.
Marella Salamat, a 2013 PNG campaigner, won the gold in the women’s individual time trial in cycling, while a member of the men’s doubles team in Rhey Jhey Ortouste claimed the bronze in sepak takraw.
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) sees more athletes being discovered and able to vie for a slot in the national team under the new format.
“I expect that performances will be better than in the previous years,” said PSC chairman Ritchie Garcia, who also explained the wisdom behind the format switch.
“The reason is that we want to give enough time for the winners to prepare for their competition against national athletes,” said Garcia.
The Luzon qualifiers will start on Thursday with 23 sports to be played including archery, athletics, badminton, billiards, boxing, chess, karatedo, swimming, and taekwondo.
A total of 14 sports, however, will already hold its national finals in the Luzon leg, including arnis, baseball, cycling, dancesport, fencing, football, judo, lawn tennis, rugby football, sepak takraw, table tennis, underwater hockey, volleyball, and wrestling.
Arnis was included in the calendar of events after wushu begged off.
Several athletes registered online for the Luzon leg but more than 1,200 athletes also signed up at the PSC offices.