THE Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) is gearing up for the 2017 Southeast Asian Games with a target of at least 10 gold medals in the biennial event.
Patafa president Philip Ella Juico said intense training abroad will be given to selected athletes to enhance their chance of a gold in the upcoming SEA Games in Malaysia next year.
Among those being eyed to win gold are SEA Games sprint king and queen Eric Cray and Kayla Richardson, three-time Olympian Marestella Torres-Sunang, EJ Obiena, Christopher Ulboc, Marco Vilog, Caleb Stuart, Aries Toledo, Edgardo Alejan, Jessica Barnard, Harry Diones, Trenten Berram, Kyla Richardson, Jessica Barnard, Zion Corrales, Mervin Guarte, Joan Caido, Ryan Bigyan, and Raymond Alferos.
Juico said funds for the special training abroad will come from Patafa’s partners including Ayala Corporation.
“We will have a special program. We have 60 athletes in our list. From these, we will choose probably 17 for specialized training and specialized funding coming from the private sector and Ayala Corporation,” said Juico.
“As of now based on what we know of them, what they are doing, and recent performances, very roughly possibility of 10 to 11 gold medals in the SEA Games,” said Juico.
The target is twice the number of golds that the Philippines captured in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore where Cray and Richardson won the 100m dash, Cray in the 400m hurdles, Stuart in the hammer throw, and Ulboc in the 3,000m steeplechase.