Paddlers, Hidilyn banner 335-man PH team to Asian Games
Filipino dragonboat paddlers will race in full force while no dribbler will see action in the 3×3 basketball competition of the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia.
Always a medal favorite in the continental scene, the Philippine dragonboat squad enlisted 27 paddlers—14 male and 13 female—making them the largest group in the 335-strong Philippine delegation to the biggest multisport meet in Asia on Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.
The Philippine Olympic Committee has revealed the 272 Filipino athletes and 63 officials from 31 sports.
Their ultimate goal: Surpass the single gold medal the country brought home from the 2014 Incheon, South Korea Games.
It has become customary for Filipino paddlers, competing in 200m, 500m and 1000m for men’s and 200m and 500m for women’s, to make the podium even on the world stage.
They will boost the Philippine drive to gain more medals this time, along with London Olympian and 2014 gold medalist Daniel Caluag, who will defend his title in the BMX cycling competition.
Asian champions Margarita Ochoa and Annie Ramirez of jujitsu will also be in Indonesia together with gymnast Caloy Yulo, judokas Kiyomi Watanabe and Mariya Takahashi and Rio de Janeiro Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and Kristel Macrohon of weightlifting.
Likewise expected to keep the Filipino medal machine humming are former windsurfing world champion Geylord Coveta, world cup champion Krizziah Tabora and Kenneth Chua of bowling, and Margielyn Arda Didal of skateboarding.
Hopes are high that the boxers, taekwondo jins, the women’s softball team and Gilas Pilipinas men’s basketball will also deliver during the 45-country sportfest in the cities of Palembang and Jakarta.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has no entries in the 3×3 basketball competition for 18 to 23 years old, which will be played for the first time in the Asian Games.
“Disappointed but we don’t really have a choice as players aren’t available,” said SBP president Al Panlilio.
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