PHILIPPINE Sports Commission chairman Ritchie Garcia now sees the possibility that the lean delegation in the 2013 Southeast Asian Gams can surpass country’s output two years ago.
Garcia expects Team Philippines to capture 25 gold medals at the very least but says the team is capable of collecting up to 40 gold medals after a review of the final line-up of 208 athletes. The roster was finalized last week following a stringent selection procedure by the SEA Games Task Force led by chef de mission Jeff Tamayo.
The Philippines won 36 gold medals in the 2011 Indonesia SEA Games.
“More or less, nakikita ko na there is about almost sure of 25 gold medals,” said Garcia. “Outside of that, we are also looking at the prospect of winning about 35 to 40 golds.”
“I think the committee did a good job in the selection process,” Garcia added.
Garcia had earlier mentioned the Philippines stands to perform poorly in the SEA Games after several events that Filipino athletes are traditionally strong were scrapped by the Myanmar organizers for this year’s meet.
But Garcia had a change in tone after taking a look at the Philippine team line-up.
“May mga nakikita kami na possibility of winning more gold medals now than the last time considering that we have a very lean number,” Garcia added.
“If you send your best players, you win the same or even more medals than sending 500 or 600 athletes. Numbers aren’t going to increase your medal, it’s always the quality of athletes that you send,” said Garcia.
Garcia mentioned martial arts sports like taekwondo and wushu can deliver this year due to their exposure abroad.
“We look at taekwondo, wushu, these are the athletes that we have been sending abroad and we are confident na makaka-limang gold sila or even more,” said Garcia.