PRE-EVENT. The solidarity and technical meeting for the swimming event, one of the nine sports to be played on-site at the Batang Pinoy National Championships, is held at the Quirino Stadium in Bantay, Ilocos Sur on Friday (Dec. 16, 2022). The other events are athletics, badminton, table tennis, archery, chess, cycling, obstacle sports and weightlifting. (Courtesy of PSC)

BANTAY, Ilocos Sur – The grassroots development program, Philippine Sports Commission-Batang Pinoy (BP-PSC) National Championships, sidelined for two years due to the pandemic, will kick off in Ilocos Sur on Saturday.

Archery will be held at the San Ildefonso Central School grounds, badminton at the Ilocos Sur Badminton Center and Vigan Convention Center, chess at the Baluarte Function Hall, table tennis at the San Vicente Gym, and swimming at the Quirino Stadium pool in Bantay.

Medals will light up the tally board come Sunday with the centerpiece athletics events at the Quirino grounds, finals of archery, weightlifting at the Caoayan Gym, and the cycling competition that will start and end at the provincial capitol in Vigan.

Obstacle sports will start Monday at the Sta. Catalina Gym.

There will also be eight online events -- arnis, dancesport, judo, karate, muay, pencak silat, taekwondo and wushu -- to be streamed via PSC’s Facebook and YouTube platforms.

Baguio City defended its overall title when the event was last held in in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan in 2019.

Tokyo Olympics boxing silver medalists Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, Ilocos Sur Governor Jerry Singson, and PSC chair Noli Eala and commissioner Bong Coo will grace the parade of colors slated in the afternoon at the Quirino Stadium, joined by more than half of the 6,000 in and out-of-school youth athletes from 140 local government units across the nation.

“The Batang Pinoy program has already produced numerous champions in various sports since it started in 1999. I am sure that the stories of our bemedaled athletes will inspire our young athletes who will be competing in Ilocos Sur, to reach the heights they have achieved,” said Eala.

Eala said the BP-PSC is one way to heed to the call of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to bring sports closer to every Filipino. (PNA)