MIRACLE ON ICE? Ice hockey will debut at the 2017 SEA Games, and the Philippines is hoping the new sport brings a new gold. Photo from Ferdinand Brawner's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Olympic Committee, led by chef de mission Cynthia Carrion, is optimistic about the Philippines’ chances of picking up medals in this year’s 29th Southeast Asian Games happening from August 19-30 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In an interview with Rappler, Carrion expressed her excitement and confidently predicted that Philippines will be bringing 50 or more gold medals in the biennial multi-sporting event.

“I’m thinking we’re always at the bottom but this year, I’m really urging them (athletes) to try their very best. We cannot be at the bottom anymore,” said Carrion, who is also the President of the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines.

Carrion is hands-on with all the teams and assured those weaker sports who have not brought any gold yet will have their victories in the upcoming SEAG.

“I ask each of them (teams), ‘how many golds are you going to give me?’ and they are promising to give us 50 golds or more,” said Carrion.

“There are sports who always grab the gold like basketball and all that but I’m aiming to produce medals in sports that has never produced any golds like petanque and ice hockey.”

According to Carrion, Wushu vowed to bring home 4 to 5 gold medals while archery aims for 5.

“They are really preparing. I think if Filipinos believe in themselves, we do whatever we want, that’s the Filipino in us,” Carrion said.

No way but up

In the 2015 SEA Games hosted by Singapore, the Philippines finished in 6th place with 29 golds, 36 silvers and 66 bronzes totaling to 131 medals. Thailand clinched the top spot while the host country came in second against 11 nations.

This year, Carrion is hoping to climb two steps higher and grab the 4th seed.

“We should be in 4th place at least because in the ASEAN Summit, in GDP, Philippines is ranked 4th. I want it to be the same for sports,” Carrion shared.

The Philippines hosting the 2019 SEA Games gives the athletes motivation to perform better than ever.

“We’re going to be hosts soon. We can’t be losers.”

Currently, there are a total of 11 sports—billiards, sepak takraw, shooting, muay thai, petanque, gymnastics, ice hockey, triathlon, long ball, bowling and golf—who have submitted their rosters but it could be changed until the last day of submission.

“The coaches and staff could still change the lineup they’ve submitted in case there will be injuries or other unexpected events,” Gina Calaguas said. "Approximately, we'll have a maximum of 450 players."

POC’s targets to have all the names of the athletes by June 15. – Rappler.com

The 2017 Mindanao Children’s Games held in Davao City from May 23 to 27, came to a successful close yesterday. It was three days of light play and fun for children 12 years old and under who participated in this event under the Sports for Peace program of the Philippine Sport Commission.

In his speech, PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez recognized the roles of education and sports in the development of a responsible citizen. He enjoined the children to “study hard so that you reach your dreams, you see new places and learn different languages. Involve yourself in sports to learn discipline and fortify your mind and bodies.” Ramirez furthers that when we allow our children to play together, without regard of religious, political and other inclinations we teach them that we are one blood, one nation. “There may be war in other countries and disorder in our own backyard, but though this we show everyone that peace reigns in Davao, in Mindanao.”

Barangay 76-A swept all sets to take the championship in girls’ volleyball. Barangay Tumugan won 1st runner up. Mohammad Ali Bernan, tournament manager of volleyball said that there were a lot of potential players on the floor but “more than the skills it is developing interest in sports that was more important.” A total of ten barangays participated in the girls’ volleyball games.

In boys’ 3-on-3 basketball, Baranggay Buhangin won top honors, beating early finalist, Barangay Hizon, 18 to 5. Baranggays Bantol, Baguio Proper and Indangan took first place in the larong pinoy events.

The closing program was a simple affair at the Almendras Recreational Center in Davao City. Folk dances from the Agro Industrial Foundation provided entertainment for the short ceremonies. Winners of the games took home cash prizes and gift bags containing snack food and school supplies. All participants received their own loot bags.

During the conduct of the games, the Davao Sports for Peace Corps Volunteers Association (DSPCVA) was also formed, giving the PSC access to talents and skills of sports practitioners, enthusiasts, coaches and athletes living within and near Davao City. Ramirez hopes to replicate this in the next editions of the Children’s Games which is expected to be held in other areas of Mindanao, VIsayas and Luzon.

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