FILIPINO sports heroes led by Olympic boxing medalists Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco Jr. and Leopoldo Serrantes will help boost the morale of Filipino athletes competing in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in the Send-off Ng Bayan on Wednesday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila.
Bowling Hall of Famers Paeng Nepomuceno and Bong Coo and Asia’s first chess Grandmaster Eugene Torre will likewise provide inspiration for the national squad to perform at its best in the November 30 to December 11 conclave.
Track and field icons Lydia De Vega-Mercado and Elma Muros-Posadas will also share their stories of triumph to the 1,115 Filipino athletes from 56 sports bidding to reclaim the SEA Games overall title the country last won in 2005.
“Our athletes are the heart and soul of the country’s campaign in the Olympics,” said Team Philippines chef de mission and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William I. Ramirez.
Aside from Ramirez, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino and House Speaker and Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) chairman Alan Peter Cayetano will rally the athletes, including Filipino paralympic athletes.
Senator Bong Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, is also invited along with Manila City mayor Isko Moreno.
“With the all-out support of the government, I’m positive that our athletes will deliver,” said Ramirez, who also led Team Philippines as CDM to its first-ever overall title during the 2005 Manila SEAG.