Philippine archery hopes to do its own share when the Southeast Asian Games returns to the country for its 30th edition later this year.
A mixture of young and new comprise both the recurve and compound teams seeing action in the Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 biennial meet, where the Filipino archers are eyeing to end a four-year gold medal drought.
National coach Clint Sayo bared the composition of the Philippine archery team to the SEA Games in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Amelie Hotel-Manila led by Asian Games bronze medalist Paul Marton Dela Cruz, Youth Olympic Games gold medal winner Gabriel Moreno, and Olympian Jennifer Chan.
Moreno leads the four-man recurve team along with Florante Matan, Jayson Feliciano, and Carson Hastie, while the distaff side is composed of Kareel Hongitan, Pia Bidaure, Phoebe Amostoso, and Gabrielle Monica Bidaure.
Dela Cruz, a bronze medal winner in the 2017 edition of the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, banners the men’s compound team together with Johan Olano, Roberto Badiola and Arnold Rojas.
Meanwhile, Chan, Andrea Robles, Rachelle Ann Dela Cruz, and Abbigail Tinugduan comprised the women’s compound squad.
Dela Cruz and the 21-year-old Robles, seeing action in the SEA Games for the first time and daughter of former national swimmer Mark Robles, were with Sayo in the weekly public sports program presented by San Miguel Corp., Braska Restaurant, Amelie Hotel, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
The Filipino archers last won a gold in the regional meet during the 2013 staging in Myanmar courtesy of the men’s compound team of Earl Benjamin Yap, Ian Patrick Chipeco, and Delfin Anthony Adriano.
In Malaysia two years ago, they took home a silver and four bronze medals.
Sayo is tempering expectations especially with the country hosting the games for the first time in 14 years.
Nonetheless, he sees the archers delivering medals of any color.
“As much as possible we would have wanted to have good results. But as of now, I can only assure you that we will win medal. As to the classification whether it’s gold, silver, or bronze, hindi ko muna sasabihin,” said the national coach, who won a gold medal in individual recurve during the 1997 SEA Games in Indonesia.
The usual suspects are again expected to crowd out the Filipinos for the gold with Malaysia leading the way, followed by Vietnam, and Singapore.
“These are the countries you normally meet along the way,” said Sayo. “Just last month during the Asia Cup (second leg) in Taiwan, sila rin ‘yung mga teams na nakabangga namin.”
The third leg of the Asia Cup will be held in the country from Sept. 8-15 at the Clark Parade grounds which Sayo said would be a test event for the Filipino archers as the venue will also serve as the site of the SEA Games archery competition.
Aside from the Asia Cup, the archers will also have one more international competition to join in the Asian Championship in Bangkok, Thailand, which serves as part of their preparations as well for the biennial meet. The November tournament is likewise a qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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