Off to battle
Buoyed by an inspiring sendoff ceremony graced by President Duterte in Malacañang on Monday, Filipino athletes bound for the 18th Asian Games begin their trip to Indonesia in search of more medals.
Gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo, a wise-money bet for a gold, will leave for Jakarta on Wednesday along with Katharina Lehnert of tennis and some officials, but the big volume of athletes will depart the following day.
Led by 2012 windsurfing world champion Geylord Coveta, athletes from taekwondo, wushu, golf, shooting, wrestling, swimming, women’s softball, fencing and the remaining gymnasts and tennis players will fly out Thursday.
The 15-man bowling team, sans World Cup champion Krizziah Lyn Tabora, will journey to Palembang, the satellite venue of the 45-country continental Games, on the 17th, a day prior to the opening ceremonies at Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in Jakarta.
Rio de Janeiro Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz is scheduled to arrive on the 18th along with the entire weightlifting squad. Joining them are the national cyclists and jet ski riders Billy Joseph Ang and Marco Rafael Lee.
“Remember that you do not only compete for yourselves, but also carry with you the pride of your families, your community and the entire Filipino nation,” said Mr. Duterte. “All I ask from you is that you do your best and that you do it fair and square.”
Sydney Olympian Toni Leviste of equestrian opens her quest on Aug. 19 together with the archers and Gerald Verosil of sports climbing.
The final wave will come in Aug. 21 with the Philippine Canoe Kayak Dragonboat Federation bringing in the most number of athletes at 27 out of the total 272.
Also included on the travel list that day are athletes from squash, sepak takraw, pencak silat and boxing, where one or two gold medals are expected.
Cyclist Daniel Caluag (BMX) delivered Team PH’s lone gold medal during the previous Asiad in Incheon, South Korea. Filipinos also took home 3 silver and 11 bronze medals.
The men’s basketball team left for Jakarta on Sunday night.
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