130 athletes pass Myanmar SEA Games criteria

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There are 130 individual athletes who passed the criteria for inclusion in the Philippine delegation to the Myanmar Southeast Asian Games, Philippine chef de mission Jeff Tamayo yesterday told the Inquirer.

But Tamayo, who spearheads the joint task force of the Philippine Olympic Committee and Philippine Sports Commission that screened over 300 candidate athletes from 28 sports, said they’re looking at a maximum head count of 250 when they submit the lineup by number to Myanmar organizers next week.

The POC 2nd vice president and soft tennis chief explained that the task force arrived at the figure after reserving 70-120 slots for team sports apart from the 130 qualified athletes in what could be one of the smallest Philippine delegations in the SEAG since 1977.

The screening committee, which also has POC chair Tom Carrasco, PSC commissioner Iggy Clavecilla, Romy Magat of tennis and the PSC monitoring team as members, has set the standards for inclusion with only gold-medal performers and potential gold finishers making the grade.

“Previous gold winners and those who shone in the Asian level were enlisted along with previous silver performers who have shown strong chances of winning,’’ said Tamayo.

While gold medalists are almost assured of slots in the Dec. 11-22 games, Tamayo made it clear that silver winners would be guaranteed of spots in the delegation if they could perform better than their toughest opponents going into the 11-nation meet.

He added that the possible inclusion of team sports such as football, basketball, futsal and dragon boat would be discussed by the task force with the respective national sports association.

PSC chair Richie Garcia and POC president Jose “Peping’’ Cojuangco Jr. favor a lean but mean delegation.

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