PH vows to put up a good fight in Cambodia SEA Games despite unfamiliar events

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Members of the Philippines contingent hold their national flags during the opening ceremony of the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on May 12, 2022.

Members of the Philippine contingent led by pole vaulter EJ Obiena hold their national flags during the opening ceremony of the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on May 12, 2022. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines—Despite a worrying road to the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, Philippine Olympics Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino gave an assurance that the country will put up a good fight.

After finishing fourth in the SEA Games last year in Hanoi, the Philippines is looking at a disadvantage with how Cambodia slated the sporting events in its hosting of the biennial meet.

“Frankly, I’m nervous because of the formula the host country did. What they did was heavy,” said Tolentino in a PSA Forum on Tuesday morning.

Cambodia lined up 608 events in 49 sports. It has also included events that are practically unfamiliar to the other countries and excluded events where hosts have slim chances of winning scheduled May 5 to 17.

Hanoi, meanwhile, only planned 526 events in 40 sports last year. 

Vietnam came out the victor last year with 446 medals, made up of 205 golds, 125 silvers and 116 bronzes. The Philippines tallied 52 gold medals, 70 silvers and 105 bronzes, totaling 227 podium finishes.

But Tolentino said the country will try its best to be represented in many events in Cambodia.

In an Inquirer Sports staff planning session in Tagaytay on Monday, Tolentino also said that over 800 Filipino athletes are slated to compete in the upcoming SEA Games.

Due to the unpredictability of the upcoming games, Tolentino reiterated that the Philippines has a strong need to participate in all the events to make a statement.

“We need to join all the events. We will give them a good fight.”

Tolentino also said a top finish is unrealistic given the host’s line-up of sports,.

“Based on their formula, we can’t win first place. Pero sasaksak sa taas yun whether second, third or fourth. So baka battle for fourth na naman. Tingnan natin,” he said.

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