EXPECT an even more stringent selection process for athletes bound for the 2014 Asian Games.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman Ritchie Garcia said officials will once again be picking only the best of the best from the national pool for this year’s Asiad in Incheon, South Korea.
Garcia, the chef de mission of the Asiad delegation, said the selection process will even be stricter than the contentious criteria set during the last Southeast Asian Games, where previous gold medalists and athletes deemed as "sure-gold" potentials were sent to Mynmar.
“What we did in the SEA Games as far as selection of athletes was we were quite strict, reducing the number of athletes from the usual 500+ to 200+,” said Garcia of the contingent that finished seventh overall with 29 gold medals in Myanmar - the worst finish by the country in the biennial meet.
“In the Asian Games, we will be double strict,” said Garcia.
Although no specific criteria has been set, Garcia said they will be sending only athletes who they believe can compete well against Asia’s best in Incheon from September 19 to October 4, where the Philippines will be looking to match if not surpass its three-gold haul in Guangzhou in 2010.
“Talagang ‘yung criteria natin will be much higher. Kung sino ‘yung ipapadala nating mga athletes are those who will perform and represent us well,” said Garcia.
Boxer Rey Saludar, cue artist Dennis Orcollo, and bowler Biboy Rivera won the gold medals for the Philippines in 2010. This year, athletes from those sports as well as others in combat sports and martial arts are also expected to figure well once again in the hunt for medals.
Gilas Pilipinas, which finished second in the Fiba-Asia championship last year, is also expected to make its return to the Asian Games competition after its campaign in the Fiba Basketball World Cup in Spain to be held from August 30 to September 14.