Can Team PH go beyond 50 golds?
Team Philippines is armed with high hopes of putting an end to an utterly forgettable performance in the last five stagings of the 10-nation biennial meet.
The sepak takraw team arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Friday—together with netball and men’s and women’s football Under-22 squads—and had given the country its first silver medal after finishing second behind host Malaysia in the indigenous event of chinlone.
The Filipino athletes started arriving in Malaysia as early as last week. Windsurfers led by reigning RS One world champion Gaylord Coveta was the first to arrive in Langkawi to test their equipment.
During the sendoff last week led by Philippine Sports Commission Chair William “Butch” Ramirez who spoke on behalf of President Duterte, close to 500 athletes and 200 coaches vowed to give their best.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco also delivered his own message as well as chief of mission Cynthia Carrion, who gave a very short one—“Nothing is impossible.”
Carrion must be referring to her personal 50-gold medal prediction for the Filipinos in the 12-day Kuala Lumpur meet.
Carrion said the gold medals will come from traditional gold mines athletics, boxing, triathlon, taekwondo, judo , billiards and team sports like basketball and rugby.
The Philippines last hosted the SEA Games in 2005 and emerged overall champion for the first time. After that, the country’s performance was on a downtrend with no signs yet that it is about to stop.
In 2007, the Filipinos won 41 gold medals in Thailand; 38 in 2009 Laos; 36 in 2011 Indonesia; 29 in 2013 Myanmar; and 29 in 2015 Singapore.
It is interesting to note that during the 2005 Manila Games, Ramirez was at the helm of the PSC hierarchy.
This corner hopes that Carrion and the national sports associations’ bold prediction (63 golds) would be realized and bring back the glory days of Philippine sports in the region.