Legends in Philippine sports, led by Lydia de Vega-Mercado, will carry the flag for host Philippines during the opening ceremonies of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Mercado, who delivered honors for the country as sprinter when she represented the country in the SEA Games, will be joined by bowlers Paeng Nepomuceno and Bong Coo; long jumper Elma Muros and boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said they will no longer ask participating athletes to do flag-bearing duties so that they can just focus on their training.
“May mga laro pa sila sa susunod na dalawang araw. Kaya hindi na natin sila pagbubuhatin,” said Tolentino.
Tolentino said this as polo competitions will highlight the early start of the Games today in Calatagan, Batangas.
Two matches will kick off the opening games in polo starting at 1 p.m. at the Inigo Zobel facility.
Olympian weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz will no longer be carrying the flag for the host Philippines when the Games are formally opened during festivities which will be held at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan on Nov. 30.
Earlier, Philippine Sports Commission president and chef de mission William Ramirez named skateboarder Margielyn Didal, boxer Eumir Marcial, gymnast Carlos Yulo and pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena as the other choices for flagbearers.
Tolentino, on the other hand, said boxer and Senator Manny Pacquiao and Nesthy Petecio will have the honors of being in the torch relay.
Deputy chef de mission Stephen Fernandez said many athletes are bracing for the start of Games this week.
“In the next few days, even before the opening of the Games, there are events that are taking off early,” said Fernandez.
Men’s and women’s football competitions will kick off Monday at the Rizal Memorial Football stadium, and in Biñan, Laguna.
Floorball will also get under way on Monday at the University of the Philippines-College of Human Kinetics in Diliman, Quezon City.