Members of the Team Philippines from the athletes, officials, and coaches to the support crew were feted on Thursday night in the send-off ceremony and dinner hosted by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in cooperation with the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) at the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions in Pasay City.
PSC chairman Butch Ramirez and POC president Peping Cojuangco joined Philippine team Chef de Mission Cynthia Carrion in extolling the athletes to perform their best as they represent the flag and country in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games set Aug. 19-31 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Ramirez, in his speech, told the athletes present that “you are the heart and soul of this country” while recognizing that the most idolized celebrities in the world are the athletes.
“So when you go there, compete not just for yourselves but for every single Filipino cheering for you.”
Ramirez also mentioned table tennis Olympian Ian Larriba who is currently hospitalized facing a different battle.
“Let’s pray for our Olympian Ian Larriba, she should have been here but she’s battling leukemia at St. Lukes hospital.”
Cojuangco also praised the Filipino athletes for “their big, fighting hearts.”
“So never stop fighting because you represent the Filipino people.”
The Philippines is sending a total of 497 athletes to the biennial games, with football and athletics making up the bulk of the delegation.
Meanwhile, chef de mission Cynthia Carrion, who is also the president of the Gymnastics Association of the Philippine, expressed confidence that the Filipino athletes will perform well in the Games.
The extra training and international exposure they received have definitely helped them, according to Carrion who repeated her previous target of 50 gold medals for the Philippines. With Peter Atencio