THE Philippines will be competing in another Southeast Asian Games which will run from Thursday to May 23. After capturing the overall title in 2019, the Philippines will look for another excellent campaign, albeit under different conditions.
This year’s SEA Games was supposed to be held last year, but was moved due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Filipino athletes also had to overcome challenges as government health restrictions kept them from full training.
Nevertheless, the Philippines will still have athletes that will contend for gold and here are some of them, led by athletes who flew the flag in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Philippines has another shot at sweeping the competition with Kim Mangrobang and John Chicano out to defend their respective gold medals at the Tuan Chau Peninsula.
Aside from EJ Obiena, the Philippine athletics team is stacked with gold potentials. The likes of pole vaulter Natalie Uy, shot putter William Morrison, sprinter Eric Cray, and marathoner Christine Hallasgo are returning for another shot at the gold medal following their success in 2019.
The billiards team led by reigning US Open champion Carlo Biado is also a pre-tournament favorite. Rubilen Amit and Cheska Centeno eye another all-Filipino final in the women’s events.
World-rated Junna Tsukii and Jamie Lim are entered, and their chance of making it two in a row for the Philippines in karate looms.
Philippine golf is making news as of late after Rianne Malixi, 15, topped the American Junior Golf Association Thuderbird All-Star crown last April before her SEA Games debut. Former Asian Games gold medalist Lois Kaye Go is also seeing action.
The Filipinas could now be in running for a gold in the SEA Games after an outstanding performance in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup enabled them to book a spot in the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup.
The Philippine tennis team will be competing despite issues with its mother federation. Alex Eala will be making her SEA Games debut and is expected to be the heavy favorite after competing in several Grand Slam, WTA, and ITF events over the years.
What’s a SEA Games campaign without the men’s basketball team, which has dominated the region for decades. This time though, the women’s squad is also out to make another noise after winning the gold in 2019. The men’s and women’s 3x3 teams are also a contender in a bid to sweep the competition.
Hidilyn Diaz and Elreen Ando won’t be the only name to look forward to in weightlifting as Vanessa Sarno and Kristel Macrohon are also doing well in their Asian competitions over the past years.
Aside from Olympian Kurt Barbosa, defending gold medalist Dave Cea and Samuel Morrison will also be competing, while Arven Alcantara and Kirstie Elaine Alora could also be in the running for a title. Poomsae will also be a strong contender with Jeordan Dominguez, Jocel Lyn Ninobla, Dustin Jacob Mella, Raphael Mella, and Rodolfo Reyes also back to reclaim the gold.
Agatha Wong, Arnel Mandal, Francisco Solis, Clemente Tabugara, and Divine Wally are back to defend the gold in their respective events.
Sibol Mobile Legends, composed of Blacklist International that captured the world title in the M3 Mobile Legends World Series last December, banners the esports squad that is among the favorites for gold in Hanoi.
All eyes will be on Caloy Yulo in artistic gymnastics, but the Philippine team also has a contender in rhythmic gymnastics in Daniel Dela Pisa.
Rogen Ladon takes the place of Carlo Paalam in the flyweight division, but is equally capable of a SEA Games gold following a silver in the 2018 Asian Games and, recently, a title in the Thailand Open. Former world champion Josie Gabuco is also a favorite aside from Nesthy Petecio in the women’s division. Eumir Marcial is a hand-down gold medal favorite, wile Olympian Irish Magno, Riza Pasuit, James Palicte, and Ian Clark Bautista are all in with a chance.
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