MANILA, Philippines – Richard Gomez, the Philippine delegation head to the 2018 Asian Games, said the country is out to take a chance in the 2018 Asian Games this August in Jakarta.
The remark came after several national sports associations (NSAs) expressed dismay over his sports selction in the continental tournament.
Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) president Monico Puentevella, for instance, questioned the inclusion of women’s volleyball – a sport that has never won a gold for the Philippines in the Asian Games.
“Are we sure that we are going to bring more that one or more than 4 golds this Asian Games? All of us here are taking our chances. We’re taking our chances,” said Gomez, who’s also the head of the Philippine Fencing Association.
“They can question the sports that are included in the Asian Games, but how sure are we that all of these sports that will play in the Asian Games will bring at least one gold medal?”
Gomez confirmed that the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) will send the country’s biggest Asian Games delegation of 272 athletes – 153 male and 119 female – based on the P72-million budget given by the PSC.
POC president Ricky Vargas backed Gomez’s sentiments, saying that another objective is to expose Filipino athletes to Asian-level competition and prepare them in future campaigns, including the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
“If your objective is to say that sports can place 4th, 5th, 6th, in the Asian Games, you give [the athletes] a chance because this is an exposure to them that would make us more competitive in the Southeast Asian Games,” said Vargas.
“But if you’re only talking about those who can win 1st, 2nd, 3rd, then just send 50 athletes, but that’s not the objective.”
Puentevella claimed that his athletes have a higher chance of bringing home medals than the 12-woman volleyball team. (READ: PH Weightlifting federation appeals to POC for more slots in 2018 Asian Games)
“The issue is bakit mo papuntahin, with all due respect Mayor [Gomez], ang volleyball?” questioned Puentevella during the POC general assembly on Wednesday, July 4.
(With all due respect Mayor Gomez, the issue is why did you have to send volleyball?)
Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas Inc (LVPI) even listed a total of 24 athletes and officials in the delegation even though there are only 12 players in the lineup.
“Hindi 14 o 12 [ang nilagay sa list], 24 yan, kasama na yung mga officials. Sa amin, 7 lang at nanalo pa rin kami ng medalya. Parang binalewala na kami.”
(They didn’t put just 14 or 12 players on the list, they put 24 including the officials. SWP just wanted to send 7 athletes and they all won medals. It’s like we were ignored.)
NSAs such as PhilCycling headed by POC chairman Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and fencing chief Gomez himself had also hoped for more slots, but complied with the limits set to give way for other sports to join.
“Cycling is also appealing but we withdrew our appeal. Wala kaming (We don’t have a) road cyclist in Asian Games,” said Tolentino.
“I’ll be sending 8 athletes out of the 24 possible athletes for the sport. Why am I only sending 8 athletes? It’s because I’m only working on a certain budget, and for the coaches I can only send two,” said Gomez. – Rappler.com