DARWIN, Australia – Young boxers and muay thai fighters lead the Philippines' medal bid in the 2019 Arafura Games here from April 27 to May 4.
Muay fighter Philip Delarmino, a silver medalist in the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, will serve as flag bearer for the country in the opening ceremony on Friday, April 26 at the Darwin Waterfront.
"We expect medals from boxers, muay thai, a runner and sepak takraw. But we don’t just go there to win, we go there to win friends, educate our athletes with its culture," said Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez.
The PSC sent 91 athletes to compete in the Australia-hosted tournament that is making its return after an eight-year hiatus.
Boxing has always been the country's biggest source of medals in the multisport event.
"The Mindanao boxers were outstanding in the Arafura Games. That’s why they [opted to send only] the Mindanao boxers," said Ramirez.
Cagayan de Oro boxers John Ignatius Macas and Shera Mae Jacinto take their talents to the international stage in the men's 49 to 52 kilogram event and women's 48-51 kg category, respectively.
For muay thai, the country will bank on national team members Delarmino, Ryan Jakiri, Ariel Lee Lampacan and Jenelyn Olsim, who are competing to boost their preparation for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in Manila.
The Philippine delegation arrived in Darwin on Wednesday, April 24 via a chartered flight from Manila. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.