THE Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is sending 487 athletes from 36 sports to the 2017 Southeast Asian Games, and sports officials are targeting a fourth-place finish in the multisport competition.
Cynthia Carrion, the country's chef de mission to the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, said the athletes should surpass the Philippines' sixth-place finish two years ago in Singapore through the support of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
"We are going to tell our athletes that we should be at least number four or number five. We cannot be lower anymore," said Carrion during a joint PSC and POC press conference on Tuesday.
The Philippines won 29 gold medals with 466 athletes from 35 sports in Singapore.
But with a funding of between P50 million to P100 million from the PSC, sports officials are confident the Filipino athletes should aim higher.
PSC acting executive director Atty. Carlo Abarquez, who was appointed by chairman William 'Butch' Ramirez as the head of the agency's SEA Games secretariat, said they will be providing funds for expenses such as parade uniforms, track suits, luggages, equipment, and other requirements related to the country's participation in the biennial meet.
"The PSC wants to assure the success of the Philippine team in the SEA Games," said Abarquez.
Also joining the Philippine delegation are 146 coaches and trainors and 100 support personnel.
Carrion said the athletes bound for the SEA Games passed a strict criteria where only medal potentials made the cut.
The number, however, is expected to be evaluated once again by POC and PSC officials from June 8 to 10 to come up with the final list of athletes that will be submitted to the organizers this month.
"I still say (we can win) 40 to 50 (gold) medals. Our target is fourth place. That is why we are urging our athletes na binigay na sa inyo lahat, you should do your part," said Carrion.