The Philippine chef-de-mission has aired an urgent appeal to all NSAs (national sports associations) fielding athletes to the 28th SEA Games in Singapore.
“Send your best athletes,” said Julian Camacho during the weekly PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate yesterday.
“We need every gold medal we can get,” added the long-time official of the Wushu Federation of the Philippines.
Camacho said the country will compete in 33 of the 36 sports lined up in Singapore in June and could win at least 45 gold medals.
But the Philippines can only achieve its goal of improving on its 2013 finish if the NSAs deliver from June 5 to 16.
“We can do it if everybody performs well. We have to work hard and aim high. The NSAs must do their homework,” said Camacho.
A hot topic right now is the decision of the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) to field its top two boxers in a separate event in June.
Mark Anthony Barriga, SEA Games gold medalist in 2013, and Charly Suarez, gold winner in 2009 and 2011, will instead vie in the AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) tournament.
The Philippine Olympic Committee rued the fact that the two boxers were allowed to compete in the APB when it runs in conflict with the SEA Games.
“Sayang (It’s a pity) because more or less sure gold sila,” said Camacho.
But Ricky Vargas, the ABAP president, assured the POC that those who will replace Barriga and Suarez are also qualified to win the gold.
“We take full responsibility for our choices for the Singapore SEAG,” said Vargas.
The SEA Games is set June 5 to 16. The training of the Pinoy athletes is expected to shift to high gear this month.
The Philippines won the overall title when it hosted the SEA Games in 2005 but has gone down the ladder the past few years.
In 2013 in Myanmar, the Philippines fell to seventh place, its lowest in SEA Games history, with its haul of 29 gold, 34 silver and 37 bronze medals.
Camacho said it’s difficult to say where exactly the Philippines will land but 45 golds should be enough carry for a better finish.
“We’re not really putting out a prediction but for sure we will do better than the Myanmar SEA Games,” he said.
Sports officials, he added, must also do a better job scouting their opponents.
“Know the enemy,” Camacho said.
Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam are expected to crowd each other at the top as Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines jockey for position.
“I don’t think Singapore is aiming for number one but it can land in third or fourth,” said Camacho.
The SEA Games management committee is in the process of filling up the names of the Pinoy athletes who will vie in Singapore.
From the initial number of 700 athletes, Camacho said it is expected to be narrowed down to a maximum of 400 by April.
Source : Abac Corder, Philstar.com