Philippines Sepak takraw team in the 2019 SEA Games.

SEA Games gold on Karen’s mind

November 21, 2021 Ed Andaya 803 views
Tanchanco-Caballero with fellow POC officials.

THE Pilipinas Sepak Takraw Federation Inc. (PSTFI), headed by newy-reelected president Karen Tanchanco-Caballero, is taking no chances in the coming 2022 Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.

In fact, Tanchanco-Caballero is hoping to conjure the same magic by bringing back the same winning team that captured two golds and three bronzes in Manila two years ago.

“We don’t want to take chances so we have decided to retain our 2019 SEA Games medalists in Manila and represent the country again in Vietnam next year,” said Tanchanco-Caballero during the 127th edition of the “Usapang Sports on Air” via Zoom last Nov. 11.

“As understood with Philippine Olympic Committee President Bambol Tolentino and SEAG Chef de Mssion Ramon Fernandez, we are there not just. to get exposure. Mag-uuwi po kami ng medalya,” added Tanchanco-Caballero during the weekly public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).

Tanchanco-Caballero who has earned the reputation as the “Dragon Lady” in Philippine sports, said the PSTFI is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the national athletes will get the proper training and exposure they need.

“Since the lockdown began, we already have home-and-away training programs, especially the women’s and men’s teams,” explainedTanchanco-Caballero, who also serves as deputy secretary-general of the POC .

“I have with me a few athletes who are already training face-to-face dito sa area namin sa Marikina. We have also submitted our training plan and budget to PSC in time for the 2022 SEA Games preparation which will start early January that will lead all the way to first week of May prior to SEAG.”

The feisty and hard-working female sports leader said the PSTFI is looking at three options to prepare the national athletes starting by the first Monday of January 2022.

“Hopefully, we can come back to Philsports for trainng at the venue and lodging. If not, we have already reached out to our local government partners in Bulacan and we are looking at the possible venue. Kung talagang wala pa rin, we go to our third option, which is to go back and reach out to our partners in Ilocos for the bubble training,” claimed Tanchanco- Caballero.

While Tanchanco-Caballero did not give a clear prediction as to their medal projections, she assured that the nstional athletes will always give their best.

“We don’t want to give undue pressure to our athletes, especially since we all went through a lot during this pandemic. The opportunity to really train 100 percent isn’t really available for us due to the lockdowns,” stressed Tanchanco- Caballero.

“But rest assured that in terms of the line-up, planning, budget and training plan, pinag-isipan namin lahat with the help of our coaching staff. Laban kung laban kami .Hopefully, we can defend the title.”

The PSTFI head also welcomed the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to place NCR under Alert Level 2 and ease restrictions on athletes training based on the Joint Adminisrative Order (JAO).

“To me, it’s long time coming. Yun mga atleta natin kailangan na talagang makabalik sa training. You have to understand that we are the overall champion and record holder of the 2019 SEA Games. Ayaw din naman natin na mag-slide tayo to 6th or 7th place. Kaya iba talaga ang pressure,” said Tanchanco- Caballero.

“Right now, I have some athletes na nakatira na sa akin. Hindi sila pwedeng tumaba because they trained with me. I run with them, I bike with them.”

“Pagdating naman sa full training, mahirap din. There’s science into it. Iba yun mental at physical aspect. Kailangang pumasok tayo sa periodization talaga na mentally-ready rin yung mga atleta.

You have to understand na galing tayong lahat sa napaka-uncertain na period in our lives. Hindi natin alam kung OK ang mga pamilya. Yun iba, may namatayan.Madami tayong namayapa na mga kasama sa sports.”

Winning the gold medals for the Philippines in the 2019 SEA Games are John John Bobier, Christian George Encabo, Emmanuel Escote, Jason Huerte John Jeffrey Morcillos and Metodio Suico Jr. in th emen’s hoop; and Deseree Autor, Sarah Jean Kalalo, Mary Ann Lopez , Josefina Maat, Abegail Sinogbuhan and Jean Marie Sucalit in the women’s hoops.

The three bronze medals came in men’s team doubles, men’s regu and women ‘s regu.

Thailand, which bagged three golds, and Indonesia, which pocketed one gold, were the only other countries to win the golds in the eight-nation competition.

“We hope to do it again in Hanoi. I know we can do it again,” said Tanchanco- Caballero. with reports from Gab Ferreras