Asian Games

POC remains positive PH can surpass 4 Asiad golds

Philip Matel

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POC remains positive PH can surpass 4 Asiad golds

RAMP UP. The Philippine Olympic Committee holds a fun run in Tagaytay City to signal serious preparations for the upcoming Asian Games.

Philip Matel/Rappler

Team Philippines will miss the services of star gymnast Carlos Yulo in the Asian Games, but POC chief Bambol Tolentino is confident the country can eclipse its four-gold loot in the previous edition

CAVITE, Philippines — Expectations to surpass its four-gold haul in the Asian Games remain realistic for the Philippines, even though there will be one fewer chance – a strong one at that.

Artistic gymnast Caloy Yulo is expected to skip the Asiad due to his commitment to participate in the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in October, leaving the country without one of its strongest gold-medal bets.

“Without Caloy, we can still [surpass the record],” Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) chief Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said during a media availability in Tagaytay City on Monday, June 5.

“We’ll try to beat our record from the last Asian Games in Indonesia. But, how can that be if Caloy will not play? It’s okay, of course, his goal is the Olympics,” he added.

The world championships, which will be held in Antwerp, Belgium from October 1 to 8, will run smack into the Asian Games schedule, set in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8.

With or without Yulo, Tolentino expects boxing, weightlifting, pole vault, swimming, tennis, wushu, and golf to bring a windfall of medals.

In the last Asian Games held in 2018 in Indonesia, the Philippines seized the top prizes in women’s individual golf (Yuka Saso) and women’s team golf (Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan, and Lois Kaye Go), women’s street skateboard (Margielyn Didal), and women’s weightlifting (Hidilyn Diaz).

Since then, the country gained more experience in sports, now boasting an Olympic gold medalist in Diaz, Asia’s top pole vaulter EJ Obiena, and several amateur boxing world champions.

Around 420 athletes’ names are expected to be submitted by the Philippines – which will comprise of two groups; the elite athletes and the volunteers – to Asian Games organizers.

Elite athletes are considered as such if they won gold or silver in the previous Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, or are significantly ranked in their sport’s tally.

The volunteers, on the other hand, shall pay for their own expenses such as training and billeting.

All delegates, however, will receive the same Team Philippines uniform provided by the POC.

According to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), all athletes are required to test negative for coronavirus prior to leaving the Philippines for the Asiad.

Once they arrive in Hangzhou, no mask mandates or testing shall be imposed since organizers believe the COVID situation poses “no danger” to the participants.

It may be recalled that the OCA postponed the event from 2022 to 2023 due to the rising COVID cases in the city in May 2022.

POC organizes Asian Games fun run

To signal the start of the country’s serious preparations for the continental sporting event, the POC, along with the OCA, and the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee held a fun run in Tagaytay on Monday.

Fog enveloped the residential skyscrapers while the rising sun provided a hazy bluish hue in the area, leaving the estimated 500 participants refreshed for the 1km, 3km, and 6km runs.

Several national athletes graced the event, including Eumir Marcial (boxing), Agatha Wong (wushu), Jasmine Alkhaldi (swimming), Samuel Morrison (taekwondo), Precious Cabuya and Mark Julius Rodelas (obstacle sports), and Cheska Altomonte (softball), with the group running a kilometer.

“We are proud that the POC, Tagaytay City, and the country have become part of this symbolic fun run that not only helps promote the Asian Games but also reiterates the Philippines’ very important and historic role why these very games were organized more than a century ago,” said Tolentino, who is also the Tagaytay City mayor.

The country is considered as the originator of the Asian Games, having staged the first Far Eastern Championship Games, the forerunner of the Asiad, in 1913.

The event was held at the Manila Carnival grounds, where the current Rizal Memorial Sports Complex now stands.

Rizal Memorial served as the home of the 1954 Asian Games, the last time Manila hosted the regional meet. –

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