Batang Pinoy Visayas leg gets going in Leyte today

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WESTERN and Central Visayas, two of the country’s hotbeds in athletics, get to parade their top young talents when Leyte stages the fifth and final qualifying phase of the POC-PSC Batang Pinoy 2012 starting starting today at Leyte Sports Developmental Center.

With powerhouse provinces like Cebu, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental also well represented, an exciting competition is expected in the search for the Visayas region qualifiers for the National Finals which Iloilo City will host from Dec. 5 to 9.

Regions 6 and 7 have always figured prominently in nationwide multievent competitions, rivaling the National Capital Region and Calabarzon, especially in boxing, track and field and swimming.

The top two athletes in each event here will earn tickets to the National Finals where all outstanding athletes 15 years and younger will gather.

The previous four qualifying legs were held in the National Capital Region (Marikina City), Northern Luzon (Pangasinan), Southern Luzon (Mindoro Oriental) and Mindanao (Dapitan City).

Thirteen sports will be on tap—arnis, athletics, badminton, boxing, chess, dancesport, karatedo, swimming, softball, table tennis, taekwondo, lawn tennis and weightlifting.

Leyte Gov. Jericho Petilla, Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia and Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. will welcome about 2,000 athletes during the opening ceremony.

Track and field and swimming will be staged at the Leyte Sports Academy in Tacloban City.

Also slated at the venue, which played host to the 2009 Palarong Panbansa, are lawn tennis, weightlifting, table tennis (LSA Social Hall) and badminton (LSA Badminton Hall).

Leyte National High School will host arnis and dancesport, while Capitol Gym will stage karatedo and taekwondo. Chess will be played at Capitol Session Hall, while crowd-drawer boxing will be at Robinsons. Softball will be staged at Government Center.

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