THIS early the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has already set a bold target for the country’s campaign in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games – finish a fighting third in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
No less than POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco made known about the Olympic body’s goal in front of the medalists of the recently-concluded 28th SEA Games in Singapore during the Olympic Day celebration over the weekend at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
The challenge of finishing third place in the biennial meet two years from now was posed by Cojuangco, who stressed a strong showing in Kuala Lumpur would be a good build-up for Team Philippines once the country hosts the SEA Games in 2019.
“We have to get our hearts and minds together and have a real dedicated effort to target at least third in 2017 in Malaysia in order to really say that we are ready for 2019,” Cojuangco said.
During the same affair, the medalists in the Singapore Games were also given their incentives by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
The Philippines was tasked to stage the 2019 Games after original host Brunei begged off during the recent SEA Games Federation Council Meeting.
Thailand is reportedly willing to take over the hosting chores should the Philippines also declines.
Cojuangco’s bold statement came at the heels of the Philippines’ sixth place finish in Singapore, where it won just a total of 29 gold medals to match the same output it won in Myanmar two years ago.
In comparison, Thailand won the overall championship with a total of 95 golds, followed by host Singapore with 84, and Vietnam with 73.
\Cojuangco bared about his intention to choose potential SEA Games gold medalists to undergo rigid training by continuing POC’s strength and conditioning program to cope up with the rest of its Southeast Asian neighbors.
“It is quite obvious the Philippines has that inborn natural ability. Once new technology came into play, we started having difficulties and problems. We have to catch-up with the way of training and conditioning of our athletes,” said Cojuangco.