By REYNALD MAGALLON
The top Filipino athletes who performed well and won gold and silver medals in the recently concluded Southeast Asian Games will be in strong consideration for the country’s contingent to the Hangzhou 19th Asian Games, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Toletino said Friday, May 19.
Medalists whose events will be played this year in the Asiad will be put under two classifications which will determine the funding of every athlete.
“That’s a parameter, gold and silver medalists in Cambodia will be strongly considered for the national team to Hangzhou. They’ll be funded under Group A classification. The rest will be in Group B, but they need to be evaluated,” said Tolentino on Friday, May 19.
The POC has set a Group A classification for athletes who will be funded by the Philippine Sports Commission and Group B for those whose participation will be shouldered by their national sports associations.
The Phnom Penh Games saw the Philippines place fifth overall in the medal tally with 58 golds, 85 silvers and 117 bronzes for a total of 260 medals – the country’s best overseas performance in nearly four decades or since the 1987 edition where the country collected 59 golds in Indonesia.
Aside from the SEAG performance, other criteria, according to Tolentino, will also be based on the Asian and world ranking as the results of the Asiad falls within the qualifying window for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Expected to banner the Philippine contingent are Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, world no.3 pole vaulter EJ Obiena and world champion gymnast Caloy Yulo.
Olympic boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam are also getting their shot at joining the Asiad-bound athletes after leading country’s gold haul in the biennial meet along with weightlifters Vanessa Sarno and Elreen Ando, tracksters Janry Ubas and Eric Cray, gymnasts John Ivan Cruz and Miguel Besana, taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa and swimmer Xiandi Chua to name a few.
In the last edition of the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, the Philippines bagged four gold, two silver and 15 bronze medals.