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PH athletes to spring surprise – POC chief

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham Tolentino.

FILIPINOS can expect a pleasant surprise from the Philippine contingent during the
Southeast Asian (SEA) Games that will run from November 30 to December 11, according to Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham Tolentino.

“Call me an optimist or something, but let me just tell you, may laban tayo sa (we have a fighting chance in) overall. And our chances are very bright,” the Cavite lawmaker asserted.

“We will be hosting these Games. We chose the sports to be disputed, so, siyempre pinili natin ‘yung kung saan tayo malakas (we chose the event where we excel),” he added. “Our athletes? They’ve also shown they can be champions, they can do it again.”

The country will be fielding a 1,150-strong contingent in the 30th edition of the Southeast Asian Games that will be held in several venues in Luzon.

“I know many of our countrymen still have apprehension on the capabilities of our athletes. But magugulat sila. Ang pakiusap ko lamang ay panoorin nila ang ating atletang makilaban. Suportahan natin sila at di kayo mabibigo (You will be surprised. Support them and you will not regret it),” Tolentino added.

He said the list of athletes would be announced before the official opening of the games.

The list will include Rio de Janeiro Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz in weightlifting, Tokyo Olympic Games qualifiers Ernest Obiena in athletics and Carlos Yulo in gymnastics.

“All the 23 gold medal winners in the 2017 SEA Games should also be there, as well as the sprinkling of silver and bronze medalists,” said deputy chef de mission Stephen Fernandez, who himself was a bronze medalist in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in the then demonstration event tae kwon do.

The Philippines will see action in 47 of 56 sports calendared this year, dubbed as the biggest edition ever in the 42-year history of the biennial competitions among the region’s finest and brightest athletes.

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