Asiad bets given deadline to qualify

Asiad bets given deadline to qualify
By: Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - Filipino athletes who want to compete in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea have until Aug. 15 to justify their inclusion to the delegation.

Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia, who is also chef-de-mission to the Incheon Games, made the announcement yesterday.

“They have until Aug. 15 to prove to us that they deserve a slot to the team,” he said.

Garcia said the date comes right before the final deadline set by Incheon organizers for the submission of the list of athletes by names.

This year’s Asian Games will take place Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.

The Asian Games task force headed by Garcia and which also includes Philippine Olympic Committee chairman Tom Carrasco, basketball official Jay Adalem and tennis official Romeo Magat is now working on the composition of the delegation.

They have started one-on-one discussions with the different national sports associations (NSAs) hoping to field entries to Incheon.

In the meetings, they gather information as to how many athletes the NSAs want to field, the qualifying tournaments they want to join as well as their requirements regarding their preparations, from equipment to local and foreign training.

The task force has put up strict criteria for an athlete to make it to Incheon, and it includes a top five finish or performance in the Asian level, especially for measurable sports.

Gold medalists in last year’s Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar are high on the list although not all of them will make it to Incheon.

“A gold medal in Myanmar is not a sure ticket because there are SEA Games events where the gold medal will not even come close to a bronze in the Asian Games,” he said.

Garcia said he expects athletes to try their best to qualify, and they have six months from now to do that.

“For athletes who are not yet in the list of prospects, those who did not win medals in the last SEA Games and those with no records with us, they have until Aug. 15 to qualify,” he said.

Because of the inclusion of team events in Incheon, like basketball, softball, rugby or football, in case they meet the standard, Garcia expects a bigger delegation than in 2010 in Guangzhou where the Philippines fielded 188 athletes that won three gold, four silvers and nine bronze medals.

“We expect to surpass the medal haul this year,” said Garcia.