Tolentino POC president Tolentino

High hopes for Team Philippines

July 24, 2023 Robert Andaya 325 views

PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino expressed confidence that the Filipino athletes will duplicate, if not surpass, their four-gold medal haul in the coming 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

Tolentino said the 395-strong Filipino delegation which will compete in 37 of the 40 sports in the prestigious event scheduled Sept. 24-Oct. 8 is capable of bringing home more medals from Hangzhou this time.

Tolentino said Filipino-Canadian swimmer Kayla Sanchez, who begged off from participating in the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan is favored to win medals in five events in swimming.

The 22-year-old Sanchez, who is best remembered for winning a gold medal in the 4x100m freestyle in the Tokyo Olympics and three gold medals in the world championships in Abu Dhabi in 2021, has already earned the nod of the World Aquatics to represent the Philippines instead of Canada in the Asian Games.

Tolentino said the Filipinos can now easily match or surpass the four gold medals won in the last edition in Jakarta and Palembang five years ago– Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo in weightlifting, Margielyn Didal in skateboarding and Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go in women’s individual and team golf.

The country also clinched two silvers and 15 bronzes in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Tolentino, tapped Philippine Skating Union president Nikki Cheng as deputy chef de missions to the Asian Games because she speaks fluent Chinese.

“Her expertise in communicating in the Chinese language will really help us there,” said Tolentino, who is also the Mayor of Tagaytay City.

Cheng will join chef de mission Richard Gomez and deputy Karen Caballero.

Tolentino also announced that the International Jet Sports Boating Association was accepted as the POC’s 55th regular voting member and the Cheerleading Association of the Philippines as the ninth associated member.