Colorful fireworks painted the sky during the opening ceremonies of the 2015 National Youth Games-Batang Pinoy Philippine National Championships at the Abellana Sports Center on Nov. 27.
The participants were welcomed with rich Cebuano culture and traditions through the spectacular dances by the University of Cebu Dance Company, Abellana National School Dance Troupe and five-time Sinulog champion Lumad Basakanon.
Some 5,000 student-athletes with their coaches from the different regions around the Philippines and more than 600 officiating officials gather together for the 5-day sports competition.
Cebu City plays host to the gathering of the champions in collaboration with the Cebu Provincial Government and the cities of Mandaue and Danao.
Philippine Sports Commissioner Ricardo Garcia encouraged the participants to uphold excellence in sports and continue to aim higher.
“Continue to dream big because with that passion you have you could be the next international sports champions,” Garcia said.
On the other hand, Provincial Board Member and Vice Chairman for Cebu Provincial Sports Commission Raul Alcoseba also inspired the participants to prepare themselves for setbacks and defeat.
“Sports is more than just the physical aspect; it teaches us to accept defeat, it makes us grow in maturity, self-discipline, hard work, teamwork, and nationalism,” Alcoseba added.
The 250 athletes representing the Province of Cebu will be competing in 27 sports events that will be held in different venues.
Table tennis and dance sports will be held at the Capitol Social Hall. Basketball, cycling, triathlon and softball will be held in Danao City, while wrestling, arnis, weightlifting, and pencat silat will be in Mandaue City.
Cebu City will be hosting 17 competitions, including wushu, sepak takraw, rugby football, handball, lawn tennis, soft tennis, taekwondo, karatedo, athletics, beach volleyball, volleyball, swimming, boxing, futsal, badminton, chess, and cheerdance.
Meanwhile, Ivy Rose Sayson, 11-year old gold medalist for karatedo from Daanbantayan, expressed her excitement of the sports event.
“Kulbaan ko pero mas labaw ang excitement (I’m nervous but I’m more excited),” said Sayson who won a gold medal in the last Batang Pinoy held in Aklan.
The Philippine Youth Games-Batang Pinoy serves as the national sports competition program for children centered on values formation. It is in partnership with the Department of Education, Department of Interior and Local Government, and the League of Provinces, Cities, Municipalities and Barangays.
Meanwhile, Daanbantayan snatched the top spot as the overall champion from the recently-concluded Provincial Athletic and Cultural Meet held in Bantayan last week.
Daanbantayan nailed the top spot by acquiring 57 gold medals, 40 silver medals and 24 bronze medals.
On the second spot is the municipality of Liloan with 27 gold medals, 12 silver medals, and 10 bronze medals, followed by the municipality of San Fernando with 17 gold medals, 11 silver medals, and nine bronze medals.