SEA Games: Garcia predicts haul of 25 golds
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - October 15, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s top sports officials are looking at 25 gold medals to be won by Filipino athletes in the 27th Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar in December.

Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia said anything more than that is a bonus.

“I was talking to (PSC) commissioner Jolly Gomez, and we already have prospective golds. More or less what they see is they are sure of almost 25 gold medals,” said Garcia.

The PSC will fund the Philippine delegation to Myanmar, and from the start has batted for a leaner delegation made up only of gold medal hopefuls.

The Philippine Olympic Committee under Jose Cojuangco is on the same page, and has in its hands the names of 208 athletes for this year’s SEA Games.

“Now outside of that (25 golds), we can still add more.  They’re looking at the prospect of winning maybe about 35-40 golds,” said the PSC chief.

In the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia, the Philippines fielded and spent for 512 athletes who brought home 36 gold, 56 silver and 77 bronze medals for sixth place.

Garcia said there’s really no point spending for so many athletes when the country can win the same number of medals or even more with less.

Of the 36 events the Filipinos ruled in 2011, 16 of them were scratched from the calendar by Myanmar organizers.

“Counting those that were removed it should be about 46-50 gold medals,” said Garcia, who will be very happy with anything over 25 gold medals with only 208 or 212 athletes.

He said officials are looking at taekwondo, wushu, weightlifting and even sailing as those that can and will deliver. Then there’s boxing or athletics, perennial source of the gold.

“We look at taekwondo and wushu because these are the athletes that we’ve been sending abroad. Wushu is confident of five golds or even more. Weightlifting and sailing are also confident,” said Garcia.

“There’s a big possibility of winning more gold medals now than last time, considering that we have a very lean number,” the PSC chief said.

Cojuangco said this will be the practice from now on as the Philippines competes in the SEA Games and Asian Games while trying to qualify as many athletes to the Olympics.

Cojuangco said it’s time to focus on quality than quantity.

“You send your best players and win medals as the same output as sending 500 to 600 athletes. Number is not going to increase your medals. It’s always the quality of athletes that you send,” Garcia said.

In 2009 in Laos, the Philippines was fifth with 38-35-51 medals from around 400 athletes and in 2007 in Thailand the country was sixth with 42-91-96 medals from 620 athletes.

“It doesn’t mean na nagpadala tayo ng madami, madami din medals natin. I think they (POC-PSC task force) did a good job in the selection process,” Garcia added.

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