The all-out support of the Philippine Sports Commission to the athletes joining the Southeast Asian Games (Sea Games) this month is reason enough for them to be optimistic.
The PSC headed by William Ramirez has funded the training camps and international and local tournaments of Seag-bound athletes.
According to Karen Tanchanco-Caballero, president of Philippine Amateur Sepak Takraw Association (Pasta), her athletes can win six medals in the Sea Games, which is scheduled from August 19 to 30 in Kuala Lumpur.
She said her target of one gold, two silvers, and three bronzes is possible taking into consideration the PSC support to sepak takraw.
“I am confident that with the support of PSC for international training and exposure games, our team has sufficient confidence and better knowledge with our opponents,” said Caballero in an online conversation over the weekend.
Two weeks ago, her team won a silver and bronze medals in the regu event of the 13th International French Open Sepak Takraw tournament in Gran Est, northeastern France.
The men’s team of John Carlo Lee, John John Bobier, Emmanuel Escote and Regie Reznan Pabriga took the silver medal in the competition held at the Gymnase Des Maltier in Schiltigheim town.
Thailand clinched the gold medal while China settled for the bronze.
The women’s squad composed of Kristel Carloman, Mary Ann Lopez, Rizzalyn Amolacion, Jean Marie Sucalit and Lhaina Lhiell Mangubat finished third behind champion Thailand and China.
“This [French Open] was intended as pre-Seag exposure to help our athletes get better competition and boost their confidence, especially the ladies team. Our women players are new and needed more exposure,” said Caballero, who joined the trip to Paris as team manager.
Caballero also noted the importance of attending training camps where Filipino athletes are exposed to the training regimen of their foreign counterparts.
“The camps in Thailand last year and Myanmar this year taught our team to better understand how other countries train,” said Caballero, whose election as vice president of the Asian Sepak Takraw Federation (ASTF) made her the first woman vice president for the Continental Sports Federation of Sepak Takraw.
Caballero has observed that her players “have also formed stronger trust and bond among teammates”.
In the Sea Games, the men’s team will compete in three events for sepak takraw and two events in chinlone (which is also under sepak takraw). The women’s squad will join two events.
The other members of the Seag-bound sepak takraw delegation are Alex Pangan, Jason Huerte, Joeart Junawan, John Jeffrey Morcillos, Mark Joseph Gonzales, Rheyjey Ortouste, Rhemwill Catana and Ronsited Gabayeron.
Sepak takraw, which offers a total of 17 gold medals, will be held from August 16 to 29 at the Indoor Stadium in Titiwangsa, Kuala Lumpur. PNA