President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will personally meet and boost the morale of the Cambodia-bound Filipino athletes during the send-off ceremony on Monday (April 25) at the Philippine International Convention Center.
The staff of the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee have been busy working on the health protocols until the weekend for the more than 1,000 strong delegates that will carry the pride of the county in the 32nd edition of the Southeast Asian Games.
Participants from different National Sports Associations and those who are joining the sendoff, including the covering media, were asked to undergo antigen tests and submit health declaration forms before entering the venue for the 3 p.m. affair.
Team Philippines is aiming to improve on its fourth-place finish in last year’s edition of the biennial meet hosted by Vietnam. For this SEAG edition in Cambodia, organizers lined up 608 events in 38 sports, but they put a cap on the number of events other countries can participate, especially, in combat sports. Only host Cambodia is allowed to field athletes in all the events and weight categories.
In Vietnam, the Philippines sent 656 athletes and brought home 226 medals composed of 52 gold, 70 silver, and 104 bronze medals for fourth place overall.
The presence of no less than the highest official of the land is a big morale boost for the 908 Filipino athletes. who will carry the country’s tri-colors from May 5 to 17, although competitions in some sports take place days earlier beginning April 29.
President Marcos, in his earlier instructions to the PSC, committed to providing the athletes with better nutrition and support for training.
The PSC under chairman Richard Bachmann is doing just that, although there is more room for improvement since he has only taken office barely four months.
Marcos, a couple of days ago, received several Filipino athletes in a courtesy call in Malacanang, including boxers Melvin Jerusalem, Charly Suarez, and Marlon Tapales; the Makati Football Club; and the Philippine Men’s National Ice Hockey Team.
“The Philippines and its people will remember us once more as this grand culture with such great capacity, with such great potential that you are now showing to the rest of the world. Thank you once again for all that you have done,” Marcos told his visitors.