The presence of Fil-heritage athletes and those from neighboring countries in the Southeast Asian region will make competitions interesting in the coming 2023 ICTSI-Philippine Athletics Championships slated March 21 to 26 in Ilagan, Isabela.
Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association secretary general Edward Kho said this as participants from Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia will be bringing top-caliber entries, with some of them even competing in the coming 2023 Southeast Asian Games.
“Maganda ang mga labanan na aabangan natin dito. It would be, in a way, a preview of what’s in store in the SEA Games,” said Kho during Tuesday’s weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the PSC Conference Room inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Vito Cruz, Manila.
“It would be, in a way, a preview of what’s in store in the SEA Games,” added Kho.
Seven of 10 Fil-Heritage athletes, who made the cut to the national squad for the biennial meet will be around.
Among them is Robyn Brown, who won a bronze medal to Quách Thị Lan of Vietnam in the women’s 400-meter hurdles.
Lan, who will defend her SEA Games title, will be part of a 16-man team that Vietnam will send to Isabela.
On the other hand, Malaysia will send 30 athletes, while Thailand and Indonesia will have 16 apiece.
Another Fil-American bet is Lauren Hoffman, who is currently ranked no. 45 in the world in the women’s 400-meter hurdles. Hoffman has a personal best time of 55.47 seconds, set in an NCAA Division 1 meet last year.
Her time is already better than that of Lan, whose gold-medal time in the SEA Games is 56.33 seconds.
Pole vaulter Natalie Uy will be there with Alyanna Nicolas, along with the Richardson twins Kayla and Kyla, sprinter Eric Cray, men’s shotput bet William Morrison III and John Cabang in the men’s 110-meter hurdles.
Another pole vaulter in Elijah Cole will be there, too, as he seeks to improve on his personal best of 5.41 meters, which he did in April last year.
A total of 42 events will be played on Day 1, with 26 gold medals initially at stake in the men’s and women’s open, the boys and girls under-20 and the boys and girls under-18 categories.
Christine Hallasgo will see action in the women’s 10,000-meter run and is expected to slug it out with promising long-distance bet Rizza Sorongon, a 19-year-old discovery from Sultan Kudarat.