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Swimmers vie in only 18 of 38 events

The Philippines is not entered in at least 120 of 405 events to be contested in 38 sports of the 29th Southeast Asian Games next month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Measurable sports like swimming bore the brunt of the rigid criteria imposed by sports officials as only eight athletes made the grade.

That means the country will only contend in 18 of 38 swimming events. The number can be further trimmed down when the schedule is released because two swimmers – Jasmine Alkhaldi and Nicole Justine Marie Olivia – are entered in more than six events each.

Two years ago, the Philippines sent 12 swimmers who won two silvers and 11 bronzes.

The country did not also field entries in diving where 13 gold medals are up for grabs.

Sports officials have required athletes to match the bronze medal effort of the 2015 Games to be eligible for the KL event.

The same criteria also limited the country’s participation in athletics and cycling.

The Filipinos will not see action in 14 of 46 athletic events and 11 of 20 cycling events.

Unwittingly, the criteria may have derailed the chances of Marella Salamat who will have to go alone in the women’s individual massed start.

Without a teammate to provide help, Salamat’s bid for a repeat gold medal is in jeopardy.

Curiously, the Philippines will send a full complement of 20 athletes in the little-known sport of lawn bowls where eight gold medals are at stake.

Chief of mission Cynthia Carreon has set a lofty target of 50 gold medals, 21 more from what the Philippines achieved two years ago in Singapore.

That means a ratio of gold for every eight events.

The following is the breakdown of events where the country is taking part:

Aquatics (diving): 0-of-13; (open water), 2-of-2; aquatics (water polo), 1-of-1; aquatics (synchronized), 4-of-5; aquatics (swimming), 18-of-38; archery, 10-of-10; athletics, 32-of-46; badminton, 3-of-7;

Basketball, 2-of-2; bowling, 11-of-11; boxing, 6-of-7; billiards, 7-of-7; cricket, 0-of-3; cycling, 9-of-20; equestrian, 3-of-6; fencing, 6-of-6; football, 2-of-2; golf, 4-of-4; gymnastics, 20-of-20; indoor hockey, 1-of-1; ice hockey, 1-of-1; ice skating, 4-of-8; judo, 6-of-6; karate-do, 13-of-16; lawn bowls, 8-of-8; netball, 1-of-1;

Pencak silat, 15-of-20; muay, 5-of-5; petanque, 2-of-7; rugby 7s, 1-of-1; sailing, 6-of-13; sepak takraw, 10-of-12; shooting, 8-of-14; squash, 7-of-7; table tennis, 7-of-7; taekwondo, 12-of-15; tennis, 5-of-5; triathlon, 2-of-2; volleyball, 2-of-2; wushu, 11-of-16; and water ski, 2-of-8.