In terms of athletic competitions overseas, the Philippines never backs down from any challenge and is always working to send representatives or delegations. While there is, for example, a FIBA Asia Cup as well as the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo to worry about this year, Filipino sportsmen and their organizing sponsors are always planning ahead. For instance, the next Asian Games will be happening next year, four years after the last one in Jakarta and Panembang, Indonesia in 2018. The country fielded a competitive delegation there that won some sweet medals and placed 19th in the overall tally, and for 2022, the Philippines will be trying to top that.
According to The Manila Bulletin, of the 61 sporting events scheduled for contention in the 2022 Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is looking to assemble athletes for 46 of them. POC president Bambol Tolentino has high hopes for Filipino competitors in the upcoming Asiad, which is rooted in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held in the country, where the host delegation cleaned house with the medals. The Philippines clamed 119 gold medals then, compared to the four from the 2018 Asian Games.
In a statement, Tolentino said that the POC has submitted on Friday, February 19, its final list of events that the national delegation will compete in next year. The high number, he says is based “On our effort to surpass our last achievement of four gold medals—in Jakarta—because we improved a lot in the SEA Games.” Filipino Asiad athletes will find quite the mix of events to compete in at Hangzhou, from the expected Olympic sports to other, sometimes esoteric, disciplines as well.
For example, men’s basketball (regular and 3×3 versions), boxing, aquatic sports, baseball, softball, archery, and cycling (MTB and BMX types) are old hat with many athletes. There are also men’s football, rugby sevens and dragon boat, equestrian, judo, ju-jitsu, golf, canoe-kayak and rowing, gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic), fencing, tennis, squash, triathlon and modern pentathlon, board games (chess and xiangqi), men’s and women’s volleyball and beach volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling, taekwondo and wushu.
Then there are the more singular events like sports climbing, speak takraw, shooting, and even skateboarding, breakdancing and e-sports. Preparations for the Asiad are being undertaken now, says the PH chief-of-mission Jose Raul Canlas, because 2022 is the next Presidential Elections, leaving the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on transition.
Filipino, or rather Filipina, athletes were among the stars of the country’s 2018 Asian Games adventure. Gold medals were had by weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, and golfer Yuka Saso, to name a few.
Image courtesy of China Daily