A TOP official of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) sees the country winning at least 12 gold medals in athletics in this year’s Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
PSC commissioner Jolly Gomez said the national tracksters are eyeing to double their gold medal output from two years ago during the Myanmar edition of the meet where they took a total of six golds.
Gomez bared the government sports agency has several big plans for athletics including recruiting Fil-American bets and sending the best athletes to the US for training as part of their preparation for the biennial meet.
The PSC official said the golds in the medal-rich sport could come from long jumpers Marestella Torres and Henry Dagmil, middle-distance runners Archand Bagsit and Eric Cray, decathletes Jesson Cid and Janray Ubas, long-distance runners Christopher Ulboc, Mervin Guarte, and Eduardo Buenavista, and pole vaulter EJ Obiena.
The six golds the country won in the event two years ago were courtesy of Bagsit (400m and 4x400m run), Cray (400m hurdles), Ulboc (3,000m steeplechase), Dagmil (long jump), and Cid (decathlon).
“In athletics, maybe we can win 12 gold medals,” Gomez said.
He added Fil-American Caleb Stuart is expected to compete this year in the field events where he is also a gold medal prospect in hammer throw and shotput.
“His college throws will break SEA Games records,” said Gomez of Stuart, who is part of the University of California-Riverside track and field team.
In order to enhance the chances of hitting the 12-gold medal target, Gomez said the PSC plans to send 16 track and field bets to the US to train for months before the SEA Games.
“They won’t be competing in the National Open but we want them to train from January to May,” said Gomez.
The sport official also said the PSC is eyeing more Fil-Americans to join the Philippine team for the coming SEA Games, mentioning a certain Brian Mercado, a sprinter who has a Filipino father and an American mother whose time is close to the SEA Games gold medal mark of 10.5 seconds in the century dash.
“We are looking for Fil-Ams that can come in and reinforce the team,” said Gomez.