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Peping still hopeful Palace will change heart on SEAG hosting

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) will wait until the eve of the opening ceremonies of the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia before deciding if it will give up its hosting of the 2019 edition.

POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, Jr. said he remains hopeful that Malacañang would reconsider its decision not to pursue the holding after Philippine Sports Commission chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez told athletes and officials during last week’s official sendoff that “don’t close the door yet.”

A letter from the POC has been forwarded to President Rodrigo Duterte, who had initially turned down the hosting owing mainly to security concerns in Mindanao.

The Chief Executive’s decision was relayed to the PSC, which made the official announcement three weeks ago, adding that there are also several factors behind the last-minute decision to pull out.

Cojuangco will be in Kuala Lumpur to join the 750-strong Philippine delegation that is aiming to improve on its sixth-place finish two years ago in Singapore with a dismal collection of 29 gold medals.

This time, sports officials, especially chief of mission Cynthia Carrion insists a maximum of 50 golds can be won although the country is a no-hoper in medal-rich aquatics which dangles as much as 60.

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