By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
ILAGAN, Isabela – A total of 18 gold medals are at stake in the opening day of the 12th Southeast Asian Youth Athletics Championships today at the Ilagan City Sports Complex here.
Action fires off at 9 a.m. with the boys’ 3000 meters raising the curtain of the two-day championships, which is a prelude to the 2017 Ayala Philippine National Open Invitational Athletics Championships slated on Thursday to April 2.
Morning competition in Day 1 include girls’ 3000m, boys’ high jump, boys’ long jump, girls’ javelin throw, boys’ discus throw.
Action resumes at 4 p.m. in the afternoon with girls’ pole vault, girls’ discus throw, girls’ 100m hurdles, girls’ long jump, boys’ 110m hurdles, girls’ 800m, boys’ 800m, girls’ 100m, boys’ javelin throw, boys’ 100m, girls’ 4x400m relay, and boys’ 4x400m relay.
Close to a hundred delegates from Brunei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iraq, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, and host Philippines are slated to compete in this regional tournament for athletes age 17 years old and below.
The tournament stakes 36 events.
Opening ceremonies kicked off late Sunday also at the sports complex led by City Mayor Evelyn Diaz and Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
Fifteen-year-old Veruel Verdadero, best performer in the 2016 Batang Pinoy with four medals won in the running event, is set to make a statement here.
Filipino winners of the two-day tournament will serve as a qualifier for making into the national team pool.
Meanwhile, 98 events will be contested in the Philippine Open, which serves as one of the qualifiers for the composition of the national team bound to the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Seventeen gold medals are already at stake in Day 1 which include women’s 10000m, shot put (men’s and women’s), women’s high jump, 3000m steeplechase (boys’, men’s, women’s), boys’ discus throw, 100m hurdles (girls’ and women’s), 110m hurdles (men’s and boys’), men’s pole vault, 5000m (girls and boys), 2000m girls’ steeplechase, and men’s long jump.
Among the expected top Filipino athletes participating are Olympian hurdler Eric Cray, SEAG hammer throw record holder Caleb Stuart, SEAG long jump bronze winner Donovan Arriola, and veteran Marestella Torres Sunang.
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