THE Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is encouraging National Sports Associations (NSAs) to give young athletes a chance to compete in the Southeast Asian Games this year.
Julian Camacho, the Philippines’ chief of mission to the biennial meet in Singapore, said the POC has not set any particular criteria as to the credentials of athletes who will compose the national team to the June 5 to 16 event.
Because of that, Camacho said the country’s Olympic body prefers young athletes particularly those from the juniors bracket to fly the flag in the biennial event.
“We know the SEA Games is the lowest form of competition among international events where the country competes in. Kung hindi natin bibigyan ng chance ‘yung mga young athletes, kailan pa,” said Camacho.
“When we say young, maybe from 18 to 22 years old, or mga junior standouts so that they could gain experience in international competition,” he added.
Camacho, however, made it clear potential or sure gold medalists should still form the core of this year’s SEA Games contingent, in the midst of the possible non-inclusion of boxers Mark Anthony Barriga and Charly Suarez in the 28th edition of the meet.
Barriga and Suarez might not make it to the Singapore Games after the two were selected to see action in the Aiba Pro Boxing League. The Alliances of Boxing Associations of the Philippines (Abap) already stated it is sending young boxers instead to the SEAG.
“Hindi naman porket kasama natin ‘yung mga young athletes, tatangalin na natin ‘yung mga sure gold medalists. You can send naman possible gold medalist plus mga batang atleta,” said Camacho.