126 Asiad bets get POC nod
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Olympic Committee initially approved Wednesday 126 athletes to the Guangzhou Asian Games in November with more RP bets expected to be added in the coming weeks.
POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. said more athletes from team sports have yet to qualify based on the Asiad criteria which is a championship in the Southeast Asian Games or any equivalent competitions.
“I can’t predict anything yet because I have not seen the athletes and there are teams like dragonboat and basketball (women’s) which have yet to qualify, but I’m pleased with what I’m seeing right now,” Cojuangco told the Inquirer.
He said the Asiad preparation has been boosted with the renewed strong relationship between the POC and the Philippine Sports Commission whose chair Richie Garcia was present during the POC executive board meeting.
“All I can say is that it’s a lot easier to do things (preparations) now,” added Cojuangco, who didn’t work well with former PSC chair Harry Angping.
Asiad chief of mission Joey Romasanta said most of the approved athletes represent softball, men’s basketball, billiards, chess, bowling and taekwondo.
Expected to make it is the dragonboat team composed of 50 men and women athletes, who have yet to take part in the test event in Guangzhou late this month to formalize their inclusion.
The women’s baskeball team, composed of 15 athletes, is also vying for an Asiad slot when it competes in the SEA basketball championships in October. Boxing and weightlifting are also expected to field Asiad bets.
Romasanta said he would meet again with the national sports associations and get their feedbacks on the composition of the team.
“We expect them to lobby and complain, but we are not closing the doors on anybody,” said Romasanta. “We want to include as many competitive athletes as possible.”
He said taekwondo has qualified only 2007 SEAG champs Tshomlee Go and Mary Antoinette Rivera, but some developmental pool members may also be tapped.
“We are looking at development or youth athletes who truly have the potential,” said Romasanta.
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