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SEAG buildup: Foreign training for Pinoy bets

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Track and field are bound for Australia as part of SEA Games buildup. Photo by AP

Track and field athletes are bound for Australia, China will be the training ground for wushu and weightlifting while arrangements are being made for the national wrestlers to stay in Iran for 10 months.

This is how serious officials of the Philippine Sports Commission are in the country’s early buildup for the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.

PSC chair Richie Garcia said the tracksters have been booked to sharpen their skills at ultramodern sports facilities in Canberra, Australia, in a bid to seize a big fraction of the medal pie in athletics.

The centerpiece event of the games, athletics offers the most number of gold medals with 46. The Philippines won only two gold medals in the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia courtesy of long-jumper Marestella Torres and Rene Herrera (3,000m steeplechase).

Thailand and Indonesia cornered more than half of the gold medals at stake with victories in 14 and 13 track and field events, respectively.

“Our target is to win as many medals as we can in this medal-rich sport,’’ said Garcia. “We’re finalizing their trip to Canberra where a Filipino community has pledged to help in the accommodation of our athletes.’’

The PSC top honcho said the country’s weightlifters and wushu practitioners have been scheduled to train in some of the best venues for both sports in China. Wushu has 20 events while weightlifting has 14.

“We’ve been coordinating with our Chinese counterparts and so far, we’re happy with the way they’re dealing with Philippine sports,’’ said Garcia.

Wrestling Association of the Philippines secretary general Karlo Sevilla said they’re tapping Southeast Asian Games gold medalists Jason Balabal and Margarito Angana along with Alvin Lobreguito and Joseph Angana for a long-term preparation in Iran.


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