Filipino athletes bound to win more–Tolentino


PHNOM PENH—All’s not lost for Team Philippines although finishing fourth in the medals race—the same position Filipino athletes occupied last year in Vietnam—looks improbable with one full day of competitions left in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.

Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said he remained confident the Filipinos look bound to do better in terms of medals won, instead of positioning in the medal tally.

The Philippines had 49 gold, 74 silver and 95 bronze medals as of late afternoon Monday and three more golds would mean Filipino athletes have bettered the 52 won in finishing fourth place in Vietnam.

“We will surpass our medal tally in Vietnam,” Tolentino said. “It’s achievable, God-willing it might (even) reach 60 (golds).”

Tolentino said that sports where Filipinos will still see action in—including kickboxing, taekwondo, arnis, weightlifting, judo, wrestling, dragonboat, beach volleyball, jet ski and sepak takraw—would still contribute to the cause.

“If you get one each (gold) on these sports, definitely we will surpass the 52 golds in Vietnam,” he said. “We already surpassed the silver. We only have 70 (silvers) in Vietnam, we have now 74.”

“There could be surprises out there,” added Tolentino as he mentioned the soft tennis team which became the games’ unofficial champion after delivering three gold, one silver and a bronze medal to improve on its 3-0-1 finish in the 2019 Philippine edition.

He also lauded the taekwondo team, which bagged six golds—led by Olympian Kurt Barbosa—a silver and 4 bronze medals.

“Overall, it’s a strong performance for Team Philippines. All the athletes are improving. The medal haul will speak for itself,” Tolentino said.

He praised the Filipino athletes for their sheer determination and focus.

“The reason why we have a strong finish is because the 840 athletes we sent here have delivered well,” he said. “Compared with Thailand which sent 1,900 athletes and Vietnam also with almost 2,000 athletes, they have twice as ours.”

“So see how strong the Filipinos are, right?” he added.

Vietnam was ahead in the medals race with 118-95-97 gold-silver-bronze, followed by Thailand (94-74-90) and Indonesia (72-65-88).

Cambodia has done well in its first-time hosting—amid rules it imposed to its advantage—and ran fourth with 66-65-11.

Singapore partied by winning more than 20 golds in swimming but could no longer repeat the splurge and could be locked in four sixth place with 44 gold medals.

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