In a thrilling showdown for supremacy at the Batang Pinoy competition, perennial champion Baguio City and powerhouse Cebu City found themselves in a neck-and-neck battle for overall leadership on Thursday.
The competition, catering to athletes aged 17 and below, witnessed a deadlock between the two cities, each boasting 17 gold medals in the medal tally after three days of intense action on various fronts.
While Cebu City’s dominance in gymnastics – securing six gold medals – notably contributed to their standing, Baguio City once again showcased its prowess in combat sports.
Baguio bagged six golds in taekwondo, four in muay thai, three in judo, and three more in archery.
Delivering the golds for Baguio City in taekwondo were Chezka Nicoletter in the Cadet Female 4th category, Joshua Aaron Erece (Kyorugi Junior Male Finweight), and Roklyn Matthew Salay (Cadet Male First Category) on Thursday, held at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Baguio City’s Sports Development chairman, Gudz Jimenez, expressed optimism about securing additional gold medals, especially with pending events in taekwondo, kickboxing, and wushu scheduled for the final day.
“We are confident and hopeful that we will again emerge as the overall champion. It’s always good to think positive,” said Jimenez, whose wards are also in strong contention for the top overall finish in the Philippine National Games being held simultaneously with Batang Pinoy.
“There were also gold medals that were not accounted for,” added Jimenez, looking forward to Baguio City’s fourth straight overall win and the top cash prize of P5 million from the Philippine Sports Commission.
On the Cebu City front, gymnast Jazzmine Legaspi emerged as a formidable force, securing three gold medals in WAG High Performance 2 Uneven Bars, HP2 Floor Exercise, and HP2 team event.
Additionally, Cebu garnered golds in karatedo and weightlifting, with siblings Althea and Alberto Bacaro making significant contributions in their respective categories.
As Baguio and Cebu remained in a tight race, not far behind are Davao City with 16 golds, 14 silvers, and 12 bronzes in third place, Pasig (15-17-23), Mandaluyong (14-7-11), Zamboanga (14-6-4), Quezon City (13-14-17).
Baguio and Cebu, though, are expected to pull ahead with their finalists going for more victories on the final day on Friday.