Jins, rowers prop up Filipinos’ spirits
JAKARTA—With its medal hopes in football quashed, the Philippines is looking to other sports for redemption as the bulk of the contingent starts arriving Wednesday for the 26th Southeast Asian Games.
Expectations of a podium finish for the Under-23 Azkals vanished Monday night after a 1-2 defeat to lightly regarded Timor Leste, a setback the delegation did not expect so early in the tournament.
Athletes from taekwondo, rowing, equestrian, badminton and cycling are due at the Jakarta International airport Wednesday.
Three jins who won gold in Laos two years ago banner the taekwondo squad, which also includes the former world-champion women’s poomsae team of Rani Ann Ortega, Francesca Camille Arcilla and Ma. Carla Janice Lagman.
Former Asian Games silver medalist Toni Leviste will lead the equestrian team in the jumping events. She will pair up with “Magic,” a 10-year-old horse she hopes to ride to a gold medal.
Joker Arroyo, the 23-year-old member of the 2005 jumping team that won the gold in Manila, Michelle Barrera and Diego Lorenzo, the 2007 individual silver winner in Nakhon Ratchasima, complete the lean contingent.
The Philippine teams will be billeted in different hotels in this traffic-clogged Indonesian capital.
Acting PH chief of mission Julian Camacho has been working round the clock to make sure that the Filipinos are not affected by the “chaos” that now attend the runup to the Games.
“We are working double time to [arrange] our athletes’ accommodations,” Camacho said, aware of the misfortune suffered on Tuesday by several Malaysian athletes who tried to check into three hotels without luck.
Athletes from karatedo and the rest of the badminton team are scheduled to arrive on Thursday along with the rest of the delegation, including the country’s powerhouse basketball team.
Ateneo standouts Greg Slaughter and Kiefer Ravena and UAAP MVP Bobby Ray Parks, as well as decorated amateur Chris Tiu will lead the Philippine team.
Track cyclists will arrive on November 15, with the traditional boat team expected two days after.
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