OLYMPIANS Marestella Torres and Jessie King Lacuna head the Philippine delegation set to compete in the coming 2016 Asian Beach Games in Danang, Vietnam two weeks from now.
Torres sees action in beach athletics, while Lacuna takes part in marathon swimming, two of the 11 sports events where the 72-man Filipino contingent is seeing action. In all, 22 events are at stake in the Sept. 24 to Oct. 3 meet that features 45 participating countries.
The fifth edition of the biennial meet marks the first time Torres and Lacuna are vying in an international competition since the recently concluded Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
Chef De Mission Karen Caballero said the Filipinos will be hard-pressed to surpass the three gold, two silver, and seven bronze medals the previous PH team won during the 2014 staging of the meet in Phuket, Thailand.
“It’s a hard record to follow. But I was once an athlete and now an official, and I hope we’ll be able to follow to footsteps of Mayor Gomez,” said Caballero, referring to now Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, who served as PH Chef De Mission two years ago.
“No commitment of anything, but we will be doing our best,” added Caballero in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday at Shakey’s Malate.
Caballero singled out jiu-jitsu and sepak takraw as the two events where the Filipinos stand a chance to win a gold medal. Two of the country’s golds in 2014 came from jiu-jitsu courtesy of Maybeline Madusa and Annie Ramirez, while the other gold was provided by Gaylor Coveta in sailing.
An added boost to the Filipinos’ campaign is the entry of Bo Athletics as the team’s official outfitter.
Bo Athletics AVP Marielle Ardiente and Jeffrey Lo, senior vice president and business unit head of SM men, SM youth, and SM store, were at the same forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Accel, Shakey’s, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. to show their support to the country’s bid.
“Sports also required a lot of packaging,” said Caballero. “And one of my visions is to wear a shirt with a Philippine flag to be dressed up by a Philippine brand which is Bo Athletics. Only a Filipino knows what Filipinos need.”
“We believe sports is an integral part of nation building and this is our way of supporting the Filipino athletes,” Ardiente said. “It’s imperative for athletes to look good so that they would perform better.”
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