Philippine Judo Federation is bent on surpassing its lean medal haul in the last Southeast Asian Games held in Myanmar two years ago.
After a brief holiday vacation, PJF President David Carter summoned all the national judokas to start their comprehensive training in preparation for the next SEAGames, which will be hosted by Singapore in June this year.
The judo federation is eyeing to harvest more than the two gold medals it won in Myanmar courtesy of FiIipina-Japanese Kiyomi Watanabe and veteran campaigner Gilbert Ramirez.
“We expect Kiyomi (Watanabe) and Gilbert (Ramirez) to deliver the goods again in Singapore. But I’m optimistic that our bunch of newcomers in the national pool will pull a big surprise to at least double our victories or maybe win even more to help our country’s campaign of improving its 7th place finish overall in Myanmar,” said Carter, also a board director of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Watanabe brought home a gold medal in Myanmar SEAG in the 65-kg. class while Ramirez topped the 73-kg category.
Still, Carter described the lean haul as “unsatisfactory’’ but at the same time made the assurance that his athletes will bounce back stronger in the next biennial meet in the Lion City.
The national sports association of Judo is one of the priority sports under the umbrella of POC that is supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.
As a priority NSA, all its elite athletes receive substantial support, from monthly allowances, training, local and foreign exposures up to actual competitions.
Carter said he would do anything possible to fulfill their mission, which he said is not impossible if the athletes and coaches stay focused and determined in their quest for the coveted gold medal.
At the helm of the national judokas’ preparation and training are tested coaches Rolan Llamas,Dionisio Lucero, Michael de Vera and Jun Awacan.
The final lineup of the Singapore-bound Philippine judo team (men and women) will be announced by PJF officials after a series of local tournaments, which would serve as the selection process for those who will see action in Singapore.
After which, the PJF will submit its official roster in time for the deadline set by the Singapore Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee, some three months before the tournament opens.
As in the past Games, Carter still considers Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia as the teams to beat in the region , while the Philippines is marked as a darkhorse which can upened the favorites and pull a victory anytime in the mat.
“We will bring back the glory of Philippine judo that we had enjoyed in the SEA Games in Malaysia in 2001, Vietnam 2003 and our phenomenal harvest during the 2005 Manila SEAGames that contributed in bringing honors to our countrym,” Carter said.
Source : Danny Simon, ManilaStandardToday.com