BAGUIO City will have its hands full against other local government units in the country as it opens its title retention bid in the Batang Pinoy National Finals slated August 25 to 30 in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan.

Gaudencio Gonzales, city sports coordinator, said Baguio athletes are expecting tough challenge from Davao City, Iloilo, Cebu, Laguna, and Quezon City in the weeklong event hatched by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

During the Batang Pinoy Luzon leg in 2018, Laguna dislodged the Summer Capital in the top spot but Gonzales said Baguio athletes have been working double hard in their training to retain the national title.

Gonzales added he expects athletes from other areas to have stepped up in improving their games in a bid to challenge the city’s dominance for the past two staging of the weeklong games for sportsmen aged 15 years old and below.

“Our athletes are determined to excel in their respective sports because they know we are the defending champion,” added Gonzales.

Of the 272 athletes and coaches from the city, taekwondo will field the biggest number with 44 athletes and four coaches followed by arnis who will send 24 players and seven coaches even as judo flies 26 including four coaches.

Wrestling is set to send 18 players and two coaches while archery shoots for the medal with 17 and two coaches as wushu brings 14 and one coach. Twelve fighters will see action in boxing with two coaches.

Batang Pinoy Secretariat Head Manuel Bitog earlier announced the PSC’s strict implementation of ‘Zero Plastic Policy’ on the duration of the games, as mandated by Presidential Proclamation No. 760 of 2014 and Republic Act 9003 also known as the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.”

The national championships will feature 31 sports, with cycling, gymnastics, judo, billiards, muay thai, rugby football, triathlon, soft tennis, weightlifting, wrestling and wushu to be played straight in the games.

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