Team PH ready for golden combat
The Philippines is looking to turn combat events into a gold mine during the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
A total of 180 golds will be up for grabs in 14 contact sports, with taekwondo and arnis slating 22 and 20 events, respectively.
Team Philippines is historically gifted in combat events that have heavy gold offerings like boxing (13 golds), wushu (16) and jiu-jitsu (11), while Filipino-Japanese Kiyomi Watanabe and Mariya Takahashi are surefire bets in judo.
“We are capable of winning more than 100 gold medals,” said Philippine Olympic Committee chair and Cavite Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino. “I believe athletes from combat sports will deliver to help us achieve that goal.”
Kickboxing and sambo, which will make their debut in the SEA Games, have eight and seven weight categories to help Filipino karatekas (13 weight classes), muay fighters (9) and pencak silat (9) grease the count this year.
Filipino athletes assembled a total of 112 gold medals to seal the overall title when the country last hosted the biennial meet in 2005.
“We’re actually looking to surpass that number,” said Tolentino, also the president of the national cycling federation.
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