Asian Games

POC ‘looking to exceed output’ of Philippines in Asian Games

Philip Matel

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POC ‘looking to exceed output’ of Philippines in Asian Games

KEEP THE STREAK. Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham 'Bambol' Tolentino speaks at the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on May 23, 2023.

Philip Matel/Rappler

Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino says the Philippines is sending about 400 athletes to the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is upbeat that the Philippines can eclipse its previous outing in the Asian Games, based on its strong performance in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.

The Asian Games was originally scheduled in 2022 due to the rising cases in the host city of Hangzhou, China, but had been pushed to September 23 to October 8, 2023, in the same city.

POC chief Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said that Team Philippines can easily surpass its medal haul (4 gold, 2 silver, 15 bronze) in the quadrennial event staged in Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia from August-September 2018.

“We are looking to exceed our output in the Indonesia Asian Games, and it’s hard to catch up in the overall rankings,” Tolentino said at the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

In the last Asiad in 2018, the Philippines claimed four gold medals: two in golf (women’s individual, women’s team), and one each in roller sports (women’s street skateboard) and weightlifting (women’s -53kg).

Since then, the country has produced more elite athletes like the top-ranked Asian pole vaulter EJ Obiena, and boxers such as Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, among others.

Teenage tennis player Alex Eala is also expected to join the women’s singles and doubles events but her partner is still to be determined.

Around 400 Philippine athletes will participate in the 2023 Asian Games.

Tolentino said those who are not endorsed by the POC in its entry by list may still join if they spend for their own expenses such as training and logistics en route to China.

During the forum, Tolentino noted the “strong performance” of the Philippines in the recent SEA Games, where it placed fifth behind Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and host Cambodia.

The Philippines hauled 58 gold, 85 silver and 117 bronze medals in Cambodia, better than its 52-70-104 output in Hanoi in 2022.

“It was really a strong performance for Team Philippines. Look at the medal haul…in gold, silver, and bronze, we surpassed our Vietnam total,” Tolentino said, but added that he was eyeing at least 60 gold medals for Team Philippines. –

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