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Legacy Shines: Batang Pinoy Regains Momentum after ‘Beddings’ Controversy

After dealing with athletes sleeping on the floor on makeshift mats made out of cartons, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Batang Pinoy Games shifted the spotlight to its athletes. Two promising athletes with familiar surnames stood out, Aristen Aricela Ardice Dormitorio and Matthew Diaz.

Aristen Aricela Ardice Dormitorio clinched the girls’ 13-under criterium in cycling while Matthew Diaz, the nephew of Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo, emerged from the shadow cast by his famous aunt to claim Rizal Province’s first gold in the weightlifting event. “This is my first time to compete in a real competition and I was very nervous,” Matthew Diaz said in Filipino, adding that his aunt advised him to approach the competition as a daily training routine.

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,” Dormitorio said in Filipino after her triumph.

“I want to win more medals, especially in international races, just like my sister,” she added. Jhaykarl Ophir Macapagal Nuaez from Quezon City secured the gold in the boys’ division. The event for athletes 17 years old and below was marred by logistical problems, with athletes and coaches having to sleep on the floor due to late release of beddings by organizers.

“No IDs, no beddings,” a coach told the Inquirer on the condition of anonymity. The PSC released a statement saying they are working to ensure the success of the games and address challenges related to the billeting of athletes and delegations.

“As of this morning, we have already delivered more than 14,700 sleeping mats across the different billeting areas,” the PSC said in the statement.