TEAM Philippines will be made up of 162 athletes from 26 sports in the Burma (Myanmar) Southeast Asian Games, less than half the size of the delegation the country fielded two years ago in Indonesia.
Sports officials did not reveal the names of the athletes, except for those in cycling, billiards and taekwondo, who formally qualified for the event.
World champions Efren “Bata” Reyes, Rubilen Amit and Dennis Orcollo will lead the billiards and snooker squad, while Alfie Catalan, John Mark Lexer Galedo and Olympian Daniel Caluag will banner the 17-strong cycling team.
Taekwondo had 16 athletes approved for battle, including Asian Youth Games gold winner Pauline Lopez. That 16-man team, however, may not include main man John Paul Lizardo, who injured his left hamstring during last month’s Worlds held in Mexico.
The delegation number may still grow with 86 more athletes awaiting inclusion, depending on the outcome of regional tournaments within the coming months. But even if everybody makes it, the number of athletes would still pale in comparison to the 520 athletes who went home with 36 gold medals in 2011.
“A lean and mean delegation, that’s what will carry the country’s colors in Myanmar,” said Philippine Olympic Committee chair Tom Carrasco. “Whether intentionally or otherwise, this number represents what the POC had in mind when the task force came into being.”
Carrasco made the statement in yesterday’s Scoop sa Kamayan along Padre Faura, where he was joined by SEA Games Task Force official Paul Ycasas.
With the revised lineup of sports and events for this year’s SEA Games, the Philippines already lost 15 gold medals, 13 silvers and 22 golds, according to the task force.