A delegation of seasoned veterans will make up Team Philippines when it sees action in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam late this year.
That’s because the medalists of the previous staging of the games will comprise the majority of the delegation.
Chef de mission and commissioner Ramon Fernandez of the Philippine Sports Commission said the veterans are being prioritized for inclusion to the national delegation.
“It’s the medallists, the gold, silver and bronze medallists, who will be the priority,” said Fernandez.
Initially, the national contingent will be composed of 560 athletes, which was decided following a meeting between Philippine Olympic Committee president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and the executive board last Thursday.
It was also decided that the athletes will be competing in 520 events in 38 of the 40 sports in the biennial meet, set from November 21 to December 2.
Tolentino said the number could still be reduced as they are basically entries by numbers that have been taken down from discussions with the various national sports associations early this week.
Many international sporting events have already been suspended because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions have been imposed.
But Vietnamese organizers have shown determination to organize the event, along with the 11th ASEAN Para Games.
“The basis of selection primarily hinged on those athletes who won medals (of any color) in the 2019 SEA Games that we hosted,” said Tolentino.
So far, the Philippines’ preparation for the biennial meet has been slowed down by restrictions imposed to control the spread of the pandemic.
And the PSC is still trying make venues available for training.