POC set to apply strict criteria for Asiad campaign
By: Manila Bulletin

The athletes who will be selected to represent the country in the 17th Asian Games won’t end up acting like autograph-seekers and tourists-on-holiday in Incheon, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco declared yesterday.

Cojuangco said those who will form the Philippine delegation for the Sept. 19 to Oct. 4 sportsfest will be made up of medal hopefuls.

The POC, in close coordination with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the government funding agency, will enforce strict criteria for athletes vying to make it to Incheon.

Cojuangco said that if the POC and PSC don’t put the clamps on Asiad hopefuls, they will end up sending a bunch of rubberneckers.

“It will instill focus on these people. If we don’t get strict they will not focus on the real competition,” said Cojuangco.

POC-PSC Task Force member Tom Carrasco expects the number of athletes to Incheon at 120 to 150 although he won’t be surprised if the total figure slips to about 100.

A fifth place finish in a major Asian-level event and top 20 finish in a world tournament would qualify an athlete to Incheon, according to Carrasco, who is joined in the group by Jay Adalem of basketball and Romeo Magat of tennis and PSC chairman Richie Garcia.

“The athletes we will be sending won’t go there for mere exposure. Not even those sports that will say they have the funds to send their athletes won’t be given the permission to go. The have-money-will-travel will not apply in the Asian Games,” added Cojuangco.

So far, the men’s basketball team rugby and baseball, all team events, have been allotted spots in Asiad alongside two from cycling (BMX riders).

In the last Asian Games four years ago, the PH team wound up with three gold medals, a number Cojuangco believes will be surpassed in Incheon.