Gold at rainbow’s end a driving force for SEA Games bets–Fernandez
Medalists in the last Tokyo Summer Games have become instant millionaires and celebrities, and seeing how this happened, athletes bound for the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games are highly motivated to do well in Hanoi, Vietnam, in May and kickstart their own Olympics dreams for Paris in 2024.
“They (athletes) saw what happened to the four medalists in the Tokyo Olympics. Our athletes will be inspired and determined to do their best,’’ said Team Philippines chef de mission Ramon Fernandez in an interview during the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Hour aired by Radyo Pilipinas 2.
Fernandez, who will be the chef de mission in Vietnam, said the success of the four Olympic medalists led by gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting, will drive the 654 athletes from 39 sports to victory, even as the PSC commissioner bared a modest target for the country of finishing in the top three overall.
Boxing Olympic silver medalists Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam as well as fellow boxer Eumir Marcial, who claimed a bronze in Tokyo, have become instant millionaires along with Diaz.
Modest goal in Hanoi
“Most of the medalists when we won the overall title [in the 2019 SEA Games] will be joining us, so we’re hoping to land in the top 3 [among 11 countries],’’ said Fernandez, who will receive a lifetime achievement award from the Philippine Sportswriters Association at Diamond Hotel on Monday night.
For Hanoi, Philippine Olympic Committee president Rep. Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino said Team Philippines has enlisted a large chunk of the 149 gold, 117 silver and 121 bronze medalists during the 2019 SEAG overall title the nation hosted.
As restrictions due to COVID-19 loosen up, Fernandez said the training of athletes is already in full swing with two months left for the Games set on May 12 to May 23.
“I hope and pray that we enter the top three in this coming Hanoi SEAG. Most of our podium finishers last time are included in the lineup,” said Fernandez
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has lifted bubble training restrictions across all sports, giving wrestling, karate, taekwondo, boxing, muay thai, pencak silat, kickboxing, judo and other combat sports more freedom to train and move around. With a report from Marc Anthony Reyes