MANILA — The Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA) announced Wednesday the staging of two international tournaments in Isabela province next year.
PATAFA President Philip Ella Juico said the 12th South East Asia Youth Athletics Championship is slated to be held on March 27-28, and the Philippine National Open Invitational Athletics Championships, on March 30 to April 2. Both tournaments will be held at the PHP250 million sports complex in Ilagan City.
Juico said it will be the first time the Philippines is hosting the SEA Youth Athletics Championship for athletes 17 years and below.
“Holding the two tournaments in Ilagan, Isabela is part of our mission of bringing the sport to the countryside,” said Juico, who noted Lerma Bulauitan-Gabito as one of several national athletes from Isabela.
PATAFA Secretary General Reynato Unso said 26 events, 13 in the boys division and 13 in the girls division, are featured in the SEA Youth Championship, while 23 to 26 events will be contested in the National Open, which will have entries from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Guam, South Korea and Indonesia.
Ilagan City Mayor Evelyn Diaz said the hosting is aimed at making the city as a sports hub in the Cagayan Valley region.
“This is our first time to host in Ilagan City a big competition involving foreign participants. But right now, we are all set for these big events. We are hosting these events in line with our objective to make our city as the sports hub for the whole Region 2,” said Diaz, who signed the Memorandum of Agreement with Juico on Tuesday.
The PATAFA president said the National Open is one of several tournaments that will select athletes for next year’s SEA Games in Malaysia. Jean Malanum/PNA-northboundasia.com