The provincial government – sponsored Team Pangasinan hauled a total of 81 medals (25 gold, 26 silver, and 30 bronze) to settle 6th overall in the recently concluded Batang Pinoy (Philippine Youth Games) national championships held in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on August 25-31.
The provincial government sent 222 athletes who competed in 18 sporting events in a field of 251 participating local government units this year, which was more than the total number of contingents in 2018.
During the Pangasinan in Action Talakayan sa Kapitolyo held on September 3, Provincial Sports Development and Management Council (PSDMC) executive officer Modesto Operania bared that Team Pangasinan could have maintained the overall 5th finish it held last year or even captured the third or second spot if the road race cycling events were not cancelled by the event organizers for safety of the athletes due reportedly to the weather condition.
“The cycling team could have harvested four more gold medals in addition to the 10 gold medals the Pangasinan cyclists have garnered earlier,” said Operania.
“Our consistent strong performance in cycling in the annual Batang Pinoy is a statement of our claim that Pangasinan is indeed a powerhouse of cycling,” he added.
Operania, however said that a query will soon be formally sent to the Philippine Sports Commission for the agency to shed light on the cancellation of the conduct of the remaining cycling events.
Prior to the Batang Pinoy national finals, the Pangasinan delegation underwent a 14-day in-house training and conditioning held at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center.
It was noted that several Batang Pinoy athletes are among the 195 initial entrants of the Pangasinan Sports Academy (PSA), which was launched by Governor Amado I. Espino III sometime in 2017.
Serving as the backbone of the sports development thrust of the provincial administration, the PSA initially trains its first batch of entrants in 15 determined sporting events. Among the highlight sporting events of the PSA include cycling, basketball and archery.
The PSA and other sporting events launched and maintained by the Espino administration has become instrumental to expand the popularity of Pangasinan athletes, who are invited by Manila-based universities and colleges to join their squads.
The PSDMC has set sights to develop more Pangasinan athletes in combat sports like taekwondo, wushu, boxing, and arnis, which are medal-rich sporting events of the Batang Pinoy.
/Mark Gerry Naval Oblanca (Photos by Jin Perez)