Olympians group hosts sendoff for Asian Games team
When Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and Asian jiujitsu champion Annie Ramirez compete in the coming Asian Games, they will carry with them the words of wisdom imparted by Philippine Olympians Association president Akiko Thomson-Guevara.
“Your life as an athlete is really short, it’s finite, and you’ll appreciate it so much more when you’re done,” Thomson-Guevara told the Asian Games-bound athletes during the POA’s sendoff on Thursday at Manila Golf and Country Club in Forbes Park.
“I just want to encourage you all to make the most out of it now that you’re in your prime. We hope and pray that you give your best and bring honor to the country,” said the three-time Olympian, who made huge waves for the country in swimming during her prime.
Besides weightlifting heroine Diaz and Ramirez, taekwondo jins Samuel Morrison, Jenar Torillo and Arven Alcantara graced the affair as well as two-time Olympian swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi, decathlete Aris Toledo, triple jumper Harry Diones and jiujitsu fighter Jan Cortez.
They are part of the delegation that will see action during the Asiad in Indonesia from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.
“When one wears a uniform of your country, it is not like being an Atenean or La Sallian or whatever school you are representing,” said POA chair Paeng Hechanova. “It means much more than that because you represent 100 million Filipinos.”
Meanwhile, soft tennis is going all out to score its first ever Asian Games gold later this month in Jakarta.
The Philippine team, led by team captain Bien Zoleta-Manalac, is currently in South Korea for its 17-day training camp in three cities where they are pitted against different club teams.
“Our team is in high spirits and has been in the best condition since the first phase in Busan,” said Manalac, who bagged bronze in the 2015 World Championships in India and 2016 Asian Championships in Japan.
The team, which left the country on Aug. 1, played against the Golden Blue soft tennis men’s team in Busan before going to Suncheon and Sunchang cities.
“Techniques, game tips and needed skills as well as match plays were given to our national team to improve our game further,” added Manalac.
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