After ‘beddings’ fiasco, Batang Pinoy gets going with kin of greats grabbing spotlight


Matthew Diaz shows off the form that pushed his famous aunt to international glory. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

After having to deal with athletes sleeping on the floor on makeshift mats made out of cartons, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Batang Pinoy Games watched the spotlight fall on its athletes on Monday, including two promising competitors with familiar surnames.

Aristen Aricela Ardice Dormitorio ruled the girls’ 13-under criterium in cycling to notch the event’s first gold medal while from out of the very big shadow cast by an Olympic gold medalist, a young boy emerged and quieted his nerves enough to seal a golden performance.

Matthew Diaz, the nephew of Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo, topped the 12-under boys’ 37-kilogram category, lifted 41 kg in the snatch and 55 kg in the clean and jerk, totaling 96 kg and securing Rizal Province’s first gold in the weightlifting event of this meet held simultaneously with the Philippine National Games.

“This is my first to compete in a real competition and I was very nervous,” said Diaz in Filipino.

“Auntie Hidilyn told me to think of the competition as a daily training routine,” added Diaz, who is mentored by Hidilyn and her husband Julius Naranjo.

The 12-year-old Dormitorio, from Hope Integrated School, is the younger sister of mountain bike multiple medalist Ariana Dormitorio.

“Meditate and prayers form part of my preparation. These keep me focused once I ride my bike,” said Dormitorio in Filipino after clocking 45 minutes and 48.4 seconds in completing the 30-kilometer, three-lap undulating course at Tagaytay City Centrum.

“I want to win more medals, especially in international races, just like [my sister],” said Dormitorio.

In the boys’ division, Jhaykarl Ophir Macapagal Nuaez from Quezon City clinched the gold.

The event for athletes 17 years old and below was hit by logistical problems after athletes and coaches from different local government units (LGU) were forced to spend a night on the floor after beddings were released late by organizers.

“No IDs, no beddings,” a coach told the Inquirer on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized by their LGUs to speak on the matter.

A video shown to the Inquirer by an official showed athletes from a delegation that arrived on Friday sleeping on makeshift mats fashioned out of carton boxes on the floor. At least two delegations spent two nights in that sleeping situation.

One of the coaches who spoke to the Inquirer said they received their beddings on Sunday morning, a day after they arrived. The PSC released a statement on Sunday saying it was “doing its very best to ensure the success of the games, and address challenges related to the billeting of athletes and delegations.”

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“As of this morning, we have already delivered more than 14,700 sleeping mats across the different billeting areas in Manila, Makati City, San Juan City, Pasig City and Pasay City, as well as in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Tagaytay City and Indang, Cavite,” the PSC said in the statement. INQ

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