By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) announced that the Philippine delegation for the upcoming 2022 Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam will be led by the country’s medalists during the Tokyo Olympics.
POC president Abraham Tolentino shared that to defend their 2019 championship trophy, they need to bring in the best of the best athletes for back-to-back overall champion awards.
Leading the pack of the PH delegation are Tokyo Olympic boxing medalists Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, and Carlo Paalam who will also defend their SEAG championship trophies.
Also, the country’s first-ever gold medalist in the Olympics, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, will return representing the country and will seek to win two gold medals in a row in Hanoi.
Another 2019 SEAG gold medalist in gymnastics sensation Carlos Yulo will also join the star-studded group of athletes.
“They’re going to bring the cream. Labanan talaga na malaki chance natin. Mabigat talunin contingent natin kasi cream ‘yan,” said Tolentino.
Despite the current budget constraints of the POC for the 2022 SEAG preparations, Tolentino is still optimistic that they will do enough to maintain its position as the top sports country in Southeast Asia.
A reported 200 million-peso budget was allotted for the SEAG preparations but the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) only had 121 million pesos left due to their prior spending for the training of the other athletes amid the pandemic.
“We’re working amid all the budgetary constraints. Kaya pa rin i-defend pero uphill battle,” shared the POC head honcho.