All-female delegation to represent PH in parade of athletes
The Philippine delegation that will take part in lavish opening rites of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Cambodia on May 5 will be clad in white Barong Tagalog as expected.
Who will be wearing them is the surprise.
A 50-strong contingent made up entirely of women athletes will walk in front of an expected throng for the Opening Ceremonies, an unprecedented first in the rich history of the SEA Games.
“This will be a first in SEA Games history,” Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said on Friday as the country acceded to a requirement by the organizing committee to tap just 50 athletes for the parade, but with a twist.
They will all be wearing another classic creation of fashion icon Francis Libiran called “Araw,” which will is made out of jusi with an intricate embroidery of the Philippine flag.
Libiran also designed the barong worn by Filipino athletes in the 2019 Philippine edition as well as last year in Hanoi where he named his masterpiece “Agila” that had intricate embroidery with an art deco of the Philippine eagle.
This also serves as a strong statement for the Philippine delegation that is aiming to finish high in the overall race, with a lot of its women athletes fancied for gold medal performances led by a crack weightlifting team spearheaded by Vanessa Sarno and the Gilas Women’s cage team seeking a third straight title.
The men’s U-22 football team will actually open the PH campaign, clashing with Indonesia at the 50,000-seat National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh Saturday.
Jack Animam will mark her return to national team duty when she spearheads the Filipino cagebelles starting May 10 against the host Cambodians, the first of six games in as many days they have to win to make sure that their string of gold medals remains alive.
The basketball format is a single round robin with the team with the most wins automatically winning the championship.