TAGUM, Davao del Norte – Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez is upbeat about the discovery of a future star when the 2016 Batang Pinoy National Championships get off the ground Sunday at the DavNor Sports and Tourism Complex.
“We hope to discover a Manny Pacquiao or Hidilyn Diaz somewhere along the way in the Batang Pinoy,” said Ramirez, who arrived here Saturday to preside over the staging of the six-day competition involving 9,000 kids 17 years old and below.
President Duterte will grace the opening rites that begin at 3 p.m. with provincial governor Anthony del Rosario and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez also gracing the event that will also feature out-of-school competitors.
Twenty-six sports will be played and 18 will be played on opening day, including medal-rich swimming, boxing, taekwondo and badminton.
Athletics, another source of medals, takes the spotlight Monday.
“Everything is all set,” said PSC commissioner Celia Kiram, also the Batang Pinoy overall project director on the eve of the inaugurals.
An invite has also been forwarded to Sen. Pacquiao but the boxing superstar is in Japan and might not be able to make it.
Still, the presence of the President Duterte is enough to make the sportsfest a must-see as top performers are expected to be given special treatment by the PSC in line with its grassroots development.
“The message of the President is clear: Taking good care of the young athletes is paramount,” said Ramirez.
Various sites across the city will be utilized to hold comeptitions with basketball to be contested in three venues:
St.Mary’s College, Rotary Park Gym, Barangay San Miguel gym and Barangay Apokon Gym.