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P19.5M earmarked for airfare

A staggering P19.5-million has been earmarked by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to finance the airfare alone of the 150-strong delegation to the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in September on Turkmenistan.

Chief of mission Monsour del Rosario said in a briefing at the PSC headquarters that the airline of choice is Emirates and Team Philippines will be flown to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates before a connecting flight takes it to Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan.

The logic behind the high cost of ticket is understandable, according to the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), whose secretariat head Liza Ner attributes to Ashgabat’s location.

“You don’t have daily flights so that’s probably a reason why it’s expensive,” she said.

The AIMAG will take place from Sept. 17 to 27 and Del Rosario is calling on all the national sports associations represented to go all-out given that the PSC is shelling out such a big amount for travel alone.

The PSC is also shouldering the delegation’s allowances and parade, training and competition gear.

The AIMAG will hold competitions in 21 sports, including Olympic staples cycling, equestrian, taekwondo, weightlifting, and wrestling.

For the first time, all 45 Asian nations will face competition from countries from the Oceania which is led by Australia and New Zealand.