The Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) Task Force has started screening athletes bound for the biennial meet to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this August.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) Chairman Tom Carrasco and head of the task force, said his group would also evaluate the budget requirements of the various National Sports Associations (NSAs) and training equipment to be used by their athletes.
“We are all united to send a lean contingent, but we will make sure that all of them have the capacity to win medals. “We will do our best to improve our rankings this time. That is why we will only send the best athletes. Those who are qualified to deliver good results will only be entertained,” said Carrasco in an interview.
Aimed at improving the country’s standing in international sports, Carrasco emphasized that his group will strictly implement the criteria set by the task force namely previous SEA Games performance, 2015 SEAG result, competitiveness, active and deserving athletes.
According to the Malaysian Organizing Committee, among the 38 sports disciplines (405 events) that will be featured include: athletics, aquatics, archery, badminton, basketball, billiard & snooker, boxing, cricket, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, golf, gymnastic, hockey, ice hockey, ice skating, judo, karate, rugby football, sailing, sepak takraw, shooting, squash, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, tenpin bowling, triathlon, volleyball, weightlifting, lawn balls, water ski and wushu.
To promote the region’s indigenous sports, Malaysia has revived muay thai, netball, pencak silat and petaque.
Meanwhile, Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz will not be seeing action as Malaysia has scrapped the women’s category in weightlifting.
In boxing, where Philippines is predicted to figure well, the men’s lightweight and welterweight events plus three weight categories in women’s boxing were scrapped, and also the individual time trial in women’s cycling.
In 2005, the Philippines as a host, won the over-all championship, but in span of 11 years it has yet to duplicate the feat.
In the 2015 edition ofthe biennial meet that begun 28 years ago, the country finished sixth.
WITH REPORT FROM JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID