BARRING any natural disaster or another outbreak emerging, it’s all systems set for the 2022 edition of the Batang Pinoy.
Noli Eala, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman, and Ilocos Sur Governor Jeremias Singson formally signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the staging of the weeklong sports competition set for December 17 to 22.
This will be the first time the Batang Pinoy National Youth Games will be back in action after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Student-athletes and out-of-school youth aged 10-15 years old from 81 provinces and 144 cities nationwide will vie for top honors in the different sports competitions.
Seventeen sports will be played with nine under face-to-face competitions namely: archery, athletics, badminton, chess, cycling, table tennis, swimming, weightlifting, and obstacle course racing (demonstration sport).
Conducted as virtual contests are eight disciplines such as arnis, dancesport, judo, karate, muay, pencak silat, taekwondo, and wushu. A total of 1995 medals – 600 gold, 600 silver, and 795 bronzes – will be at stake in the six-day sportsfest.
Around 7,000 participants representing athletes, coaches and officials are expected to take part in the national championships.
Batang Pinoy National Youth Games is one of the PSC’s centerpiece programs for grassroots sports. Since its creation in 1998, it has produced world-class athletes like Asian Weightlifting Championships bronze medalist Rose Jean Ramos, Southeast Asian Games four-time gold medalist Agatha Wong, and national wrestler Jason Baucas, among others.
All eyes, of course, will be on Baguio City again as it defends the national crown and will be sending close to 200 athletes.
Before the pandemic struck in 2020, Baguio City bagged 62 gold medals including 45 silver and 70 bronze during the week-long national youth sports competition to top the 2019 contest.
Baguio City dominated the Batang Pinoy for three straight years from 2017 to 2019 before the whole world came to a halt in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.