An ambitious goal of finding the next Cebuano Olympian is set to begin this June via the Cebu Junior Olympics.
Spearheaded by Cebu City Sports Commission (CCSC) in partnership with the Department of Education Sports Council and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the tournament is open to public school students in Cebu City aged 15 and below.
“For the last six years, we’ve been totally grassroots. Now we’re trying to create a balance, grassroots and medals,” said CCSC chairman Edward Hayco in a press briefing yesterday at the Cebu City Sports Center.
Under the program, students will undergo regular trainings under volunteer coaches before competing against each other in the last Sunday of the month.
The competition will run until February next year.
One of the aims of Junior Olympics is to encourage the athletes to dream big.
“We are trying to reorient the mindset of the athletes that their aim is not the Palaro. Their is aim is the Olympics. That’s why we call our monthly competitions Cebu Junior Olympics, the games for future Olympians,” said Hayco.
Also, the Junior Olympics aims to provide athletes more avenues to hone their skills.
“Cebu Junior Olympics is a developmental competition. Why? From intrams, unit meet, city meet, City Olympics, CVIRAA — all of these — you only produce 500 athletes for the Palaro. What happens to all the 10,000 athletes starting from intrams? They are all orphaned. So, these developmental games are serving that purpose, to provide them a venue of continuing their craft,” said Hayco.
To start, the inaugural edition of the Junior Olympics will have nine events. These are track and field, swimming, arnis, gymnastics, badminton, wushu, chess, weightlifting and table tennis.
“We chose those events based on the available budget that we have. We may add more events in the future,” said Hayco.
To give fledgling athletes more chance to develop their talents, the competition will only accept athletes who have not competed in the school intramurals, Cviraa, unit meets and the City Olympics.
“In other competitions, some athletes lost not because they were not good but maybe because they were six years younger than their opponents or their competitors trained two or three months ahead of them,” said Hayco.
Also, athletes who have won gold medals in the Junior Olympics will no longer be allowed to compete unless they move up to higher divisions.
Certificates will be given to the monthly winners, while medals and cash prizes await the victors in the final rounds.
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