DARWIN, Australia – Officials are glad the Philippine delegation to the Arafura Games traveled together and have extra time to rest and train before competitions officially begin.
The group of 91 athletes and 25 coaches arrived in Darwin on Wednesday, two days before the opening ceremony and three days before action starts.
“The delegation is upbeat. They are very excited. I think it’s an advantage that we went on a chartered flight kasi they got to see kung sino ‘yung ibang tiga-Team Philippines. Last night, they were talking to each other which is a good sign that they will support each other,” said Philippine Sports Commission national training director Marc Velasco.
“We saw a few teams doing their training and practice. It’s good to see them that they have time to practice before the games at hindi sila ipit at pagod especially with the flight. I think we have a good chance to give a good performance in the Arafura Games."
The delegation features athletes from the Batang Pinoy, Palarong Pambansa and Philippine National Games, and Velasco is confident the young Filipino athletes will deliver.
Velasco added muay sent its national team as the Arafura Games also serves as a qualifier for a major world tournament.
The Arafura Games is being held after an eight-year hiatus. Aside from muay, the Philippines will also compete in athletics, swimming, basketball, boxing, beach volleyball, sepak takraw, weightlifting and badminton.
“When we said lean and mean, we got quality athletes from the provinces. They are not here for exposure purposes. They are really quality athletes. These are not athletes na kabado o overwhelmed sa bagong lugar. They are very comfortable in this situation,” said Velasco.
“’Yung muay competition here is a qualifying for their World Games so we have a very lean, mean, disciplined athletes here. They are not here to just participate,” said Velasco.