PSC backs Team Philippines’ medal drive in SEA Games
HANOI—The Philippine campaign in the 31st Southeast Asian Games kicked off Friday with the Philippine Sports Commission throwing its all-out support for the medal drive of Filipino athletes in various sports.
The Philippine men’s football team and national handball squad opened the country’s title-retention bid in separate venues while teams from women’s football, kurash/judo, rowing, and diving have already arrived Friday, way before the opening ceremony of the Hanoi, Vietnam Games on May 12.
“I wish our athletes the best of luck. They have all trained hard for this and I’m sure they will compete with the best of their abilities to win medals for our country,” said PSC Chairman William Ramirez.
The PSC funded the entire participation of the 908-strong Philippine delegation, including 641 athletes gearing up to corner a large chunk of the gold medals at stake in 38 of the 40 sports in the SEA Games program. There are no Filipino entries in petanque and Chinese/elephant chess or xianggi.
After football and handball, Filipino kickboxers will begin their medal quest on Sunday at the Bac Ninh Stadium, some 100 kilometers away from the main hub here.
PSC Commissioner and Team Philippines chef de mission Ramon Fernandez has been providing encouraging words to the national athletes, beginning with a pep talk to the football and handball teams.
The PSC staff were likewise on hand to provide assistance and has begun distributing the allowances of the athletes and coaches.
“As chef de mission, I will make sure that every athlete will be taken care of for them perform at their best,” said Fernandez.
Team Philippines is the defending overall champion of the 11-nation sportsfest during the country’s hosting in 2019.
Back then, Filipino athletes collected 149 gold medals, 117 silvers and 121 bronzes to secure the nation’s second overall title after winning it in 2005 Manila.
The main wave of Filipino athletes, coaches and officials are expected to arrive Tuesday right after the national elections on Monday.