KUALA LUMPUR—An upbeat vibe coming from the athletes has chief of mission Cynthia Carrion convinced that the country can bring home gold medals from the 29th Southeast Asian Games that will formally open here Saturday.
“Don’t you feel it? They are really in the up mood. They really want to win something. I’ve been to a lot of SEA Games and I have never seen this mood the athletes have,” said Carrion, also the gymnastics president, Friday.
Her prediction—a giant leap from the 29 mints the Philippines won in the past two editions—could propel the country to at least a sixth-place finish in this 11-nation meet that will showcase 38 sports.
Carrion told Filipino sportswriters inside the delegation secretariat at Sunway Putra Hotel that winning a silver and two bronzes before the curtains were lifted on the biennial meet augurs well for the country.
“But I still am waiting for gold medals,” she added.
Most of the 493 Filipino athletes have descended here in this first-class city designed with spectacular buildings, wide highways and pockets of lush forest areas.
And as head of delegation, Carrion has been addressing issues, large and small. So far, there have only been minor issues, according to her, from champion team rugby7 and marathon bet Mary Joy Tabal.
“Well you know, that she (Tabal) was in some room with someone who’s snoring all the time,” Carrion said matter-of-factly of the Rio Olympian.
The country failed to snatch a gold Friday as bets in archery and open water swimming faltered.
But Team Philippines is counting on Tabal, who has triumphed in several marathons in between this edition of the SEA Games and the last, to win the country’s maiden gold.
The rugby7 team will also begin its title defense.