Manila, Philippines, January 2, 2020: As the focus shifts to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, sustaining the gains of Team Philippines in the recent 30th Southeast Asian Games on home soil should not be disregarded, reports the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Top officials of the Philippine Olympic Committee and the government’s Philippine Sports Commission both agreed that Filipino athletes should still be at the top of their game when the 11-nation SEA Games goes to Hanoi, Vietnam in 2021.
“We have to justify the overall title in the 30th SEA Games here in the Philippines by trying to duplicate what we have achieved and aiming for no less than a third-place finish in Vietnam,’’ said PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez.
“Otherwise, if we fall again to fifth, sixth or even seventh, doubts will certainly be cast on the overall title that we won as the host nation,’’ added Ramirez, who was also the delegation’s Chef de Mission.
“The key to sustaining the gains we accomplished is to lobby for sports where we have great chances of winning multiple gold medals,” POC President Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino said.
Out of the 149 gold medals collected by the Philippines, 14 of them came from the traditional martial art of arnis and 10 from dance sport – but the 31st SEA Games sports programme may look a lot different in 2021.
“We will request that these sports be included along with the other sports that produced gold medals for us,’’ Tolentino said.