PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee chairman Monico Puentevella said the country better not keep its hopes up and expect a medal from the London Olympics.
“Don’t expect any medal,” said the former Bacolod representative when he guested in the weekly Scoop session at the Kamayan Restaurant-Padre Faura. “I’m sorry to say that among the 11 athletes we are sending to London, there are only a few who we can say have a slim chance of winning a medal.”
But the POC chairman was quick to add that he is only being realistic and had no intention of degrading the campaign of the smallest Philippine delegation to the Games in the last 16 years.
“But, miracles do happen, so let’s just hope and pray that one of the 11 athletes we are sending can be blessed to at least bring home a medal of any color. I’m sure that they will be out there fighting,” he said.
Of the lot, Puentevella believes Fil-American BMX rider Daniel Caluag has the best chance of earning an Olympic medal.
He admitted that even lady weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, who will be the country’s flag bearer during the opening ceremony on July 27, does not have a realistic shot at a medal.
“We are actually preparing her for the 2016 Olympics. Maybe four years from now, she will be ready to compete with the best in the world,” said Puentevella, who is head of the country's weightlifting association.
Other Olympians include boxer Mark Anthony Barriga, judoka Tomohiko Aldaba Hoshina, long jumper Marestella Torres, long distance runner Rene Herrera, shooter Brian Rosario, archers Rachelle Anne Cabral and Mark Javier and swimmers Jasmine Alkhaldi and Jessie Khing Lacuna.
The chances of Barriga and Hoshina will largely depend on their draw in their respective divisions, according to Puentevella.