MANILA, Philippines – One with Cambodia in its maiden hosting of the Southeast Asian Games, the Philippines took its turn at the torch relay for the 32nd edition of the biennial meet in Tagaytay City on Monday, March 27.
Together with athletes and foreign dignitaries, Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino, Cambodian Tourism Minister Hor Sarun, and Cambodian Ambassador to the Philippines Phan Peuv all carried the torch, which will make its way around Southeast Asia.
“We warmly welcome the SEA Games torch which is now celebrating Cambodia’s first-time hosting of the Games,” Tolentino said. “Just like in our SEA Games hosting in 2019, we value this celebration not only for sports but for peace and camaraderie in the region.”
The torch relay began on De los Reyes Avenue in front of the Tagaytay City BMX and Skate Park, traversed Mahogany Road, then returned to the starting area via Isaac Tolentino Avenue.
Athletes from cycling, taekwondo, football, kickboxing, and boxing carried the torch along with Mike Barredo, head of the Philippine Paralympic Committee, and Walter Torres, commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission.
Team Philippines chef de mission Chito Loyzaga then carried the torch at the penultimate 14th station before the Cambodian delegation completed the ceremony to festive music provided by the Tagaytay City drum and bugle band.
Team Philippines will send a delegation composed of 840 athletes competing in 608 events across 38 sports to the Cambodia SEA Games, which will run from May 5 to 17.
“Everybody will be competing for medals, but that’s secondary. Building friendship among Southeast Asian nations is the primary objective of the Games,” Tolentino said.
The torch relay started last Wednesday, March 22, at the Angkor Wat in Siem Reap in Cambodia, which passed on the flame to last year’s SEA Games host Vietnam.
After the Philippines, the torch will travel to Brunei, Timor Leste, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos before it returns to Cambodia on April 27. – Rappler.com
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