ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan—Chef de mission Monsour Del Rosario hardly expected a deluge of medals in the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
So it really came as a big surprise when Filipino athletes produced far more than what Del Rosario had asked for.
"We succeeded and exceeded the country’s expectations in the AIMAG," said Del Rosario, the Makati City congressman who also sits as secretary general of the Philippine Taekwondo Association.
The Philippines ended its 12-day stint with two gold, 14 silver and 14 bronze medals in the biggest continental sportsfest next to the quadrennial Asian Games.
It overshadowed the one-gold, two-bronze performance of Filipino athletes in the previous AIMAG held in 2013 Incheon, South Korea.
"We didn’t make any bold projections and just believed that our athletes can accomplish it," said Del Rosario, who joined hands with karatedo secretary general and deputy chef de mission Raymund Lee Reyes in taking care of the 116 Filipino athletes who participated in 17 sports.
Jiu-jitsu grapplers Margarita Ochoa and Annie Ramirez captured the two golds worth P2 million each from the Philippine Sports Commission as provided for by Republic Act 10699 or the amended Sports Incentives Act.
Silver medalists led by Olympian Hidilyn Diaz, trackster Eric Cray, muay fighter Phillip Delarmino, cue aces Chezka Centeno, Rubilen Amit, bowler Kenneth Chua and the dancesport tandem of German Enriquez and Danella Publico will earn P1 million each from the government.
The 62-nation Games, which included the Oceania region headed by Australia and New Zealand, ended with a lavish closing ceremony Wednesday night at the 35,000-seater Ashgabat Olympic Stadium.
Completing the silver performers are poomsae specialists Rodolfo Reyes Jr. and Jocel Lyn Ninobla, the men’s rapid chess team under-23 of international masters Jan Emmanuel Garcia and Paulo Bersamina and jiu-jitsu’s Marc Alexander Lim, Jenna Kaila Napolis and Gian Taylor Dee.
Taekwondo jins Kirstie Elaine Alora, Francis Agojo, Kristopher Uy, wrestlers Alvin Lobreguito and Jefferson Manatad wound up with bronze medals as well as kurash grappler Al Rolan Llamas, lifter Kristel Macrohon and cue master Carlo Biado.
Joining them are the women’s rapid team under-23 starring woman grandmaster Janelle Frayna and woman Fide master Shania Mae Mendoza and the dancesport pair of Gerald Jamili and Cherry Parcon.