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Goodluck in ABG

  • Written by Lito Cinco
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 228

My five cents' worth

WE  struck for silver but failed to win a gold medal at the recently-concluded Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro but  then Filipino athletes will definitely have better chances of getting  gold medals, plural, at the 5th  Asian Beach Games  (ABG) scheduled  Sept.24- Oct. 3 in Da  Nang, Vietnam.

The ABG is definitely  not at the level of  the most major  Asian meet, the Asian Games or even  with the long-running South East Asian Games ( SEAG ), but for the past years, it has been growing steadily and this year, there are a total of 22 events to be contested though the  Philippines, with 72 athletes,  will only be in 11 of them,  namely, jujitsu, kurash, beach athletics, marathon, swimming, muay thai, 3x3 basketball, beach  volleyball, sepak takraw, pencak silat, wrestling and rowing.

Two years ago in Phuket, Thailand, we won three gold medals, courtesy of Gaylord Coveta in  windsurfing and in jujitsu with Annie Ramirez and Maybelline Masuda adding two more though Ramirez  will be the only holdover among the three  this year.

And as far as chef de mission Karen Tanchanco-Caballero is concerned, we should be able to match that 3 gold-medal finish in 2014, we also won two silvers and 3 bronzes in Phuket.

She is banking on again jujitsu with Annie, kurash where  two-time SEAG champion Gilbert Ramirez will be our best bet, muay thai with Philip Delarmino, men's cross country in athletics where 2015  SEAG gold medal winner Christopher Ulboc is competing, the long jump as recent Rio Olympian and veteran Maristella Sunang  is doing the long jump, and possible in the marathon swimming with the pair of Olympian Jessie King Lacuna and 2015 triathlon gold medalist Claire Adorna joining in the 10K distance race while Adorna will be in both the 5K and 10K distance races.
Now why do I know all of this information ?
Well, I was at the weekly PSA Forum in Shakey's Malate and the  first set's guests there  were Karen, accompanied by official outfitter Bo Athletics represented by  Jeffrey Lo, Senior VP and Marielle Ardiente, Sr. Asst. VP from SM Men's Fashion Group.
The first time that this young brand has involved in Philippine sports at  this level as  it is providing  all the uniforms for the Philippine delegation made  up of 72 athletes, 22 coaches and 18 secretariat medical team members.
Karen , a former  national archer in her earlier days and also a mountain biker and climber, was a bit nervous as it was her first appearance  in the PSA Forum which I helped  arrange upon the request of POC Chairman and my long-time old and older friend Tom Carrasco, who will also be joining the ABG delegation  but  was not   present  at the PSA Forum.
I believe she has reason  to be hopeful as the athletes she  will be bringing  are among the different  sports' current best and  veteran internationalists for some though  there are also  collegiate players in the team  like in beach volleyball where two players from Arellano University have been chosen, of course it helped that LVPI Vice- President Peter Cayco, whose family owns Arellano University, offered to fund the travel of their players so as not to burden  the team  for that expense.
Peter, another familiar face from way back PABL days in amateur basketball, was the other guest and he also shared some  of the latest developments in local volleyball, including the good news  that the Philippines will be hosting at least one international tournament every year  until 2018, including next year's Asian Women's Senior Volleyball Championship, and I  do not believe this  is for senior citizens like me, okay.
I was also happy to hear that Arellano University has been offering athletic scholarships to national team members with Kirstien Alora, another recent Olympian, taking the offer.
Going back to the  ABG, I got a chance to chat with the two senior SM  Group officers and as they shared later with the other media people at the forum, this is not the last time for sure that  Bo Athletics will be involved in supporting national teams and indeed what is better than Filipino athletes in  international competitions being outfitted by a Filipino brand.
According to Marielle, SM was invited  by the POC itself to lend support to the ABG delegation and there was hesitation on SM's part, I reminded them  that as far as I know, SM has given the single biggest sponsorship to an individual Filipino athlete, ice skater Michael martinez, to the tune of  around P40M worth spread out over four years, this aside from supporting National University athletes, well, the Sys own NU too.
Karen also shared  some news about her own NSA for sepak takraw, where  she is the current  Sec-Gen and soon to be President, the NSA will sending 13 athletes for a one month training in Thailand under one of the best, number one in fact in the world  trainer,  as part of  their preparation for the World Championship which will also be held in Bangkok.
This  is the same lady who prevailed  on the POC leaders to come up with entirely new designs for uniforms for  athletes, particularly  millennial  athletes saying athletes should wear uniforms they can swagger in and it helps  their confidence level, well, that is  why I have always been saying that for most of the old local sports officials, it is time to give way  to younger ones  who can come up with fresh approaches and new programs for  the Filipino athletes.
In closing, I wish our ABG delegation the best of luck in their hunt for the gold in Vietnam, and I also wish that someone brings me a souvenir from that event, paging Karen and Tom,  please, thank you in advance.