By: Malaya

ATHLETES who have qualified for the Myanmar Southeast Asian Games will be strictly monitored in the next two months before they can compete in the event, according to Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco Jr.

“We have instructed the POC-PSC SEA Games Task Force to monitor these athletes to gauge their progress until November. By no means are they assured of competing in the SEA Games,” Cojuangco said yesterday during his weekly radio program on DZSR Sports Radio.

The POC chief, who celebrated his 79th birthday yesterday, added he and Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia met with Task Force officials last Wednesday and reviewed the list of athletes who hurdled the strict criteria put in place.

Filipino bets are set to compete in 29 disciplines in Myanmar, with some sports such as badminton and table tennis limited to just one to two athletes from their developmental pool.

“We scrutinized the list and more or less were satisfied by the Task Force’s recommendations,” Cojuangco said, adding the final roster will be known only by late November.

Task Force member and national team chief of mission Jeff Tamayo said Cojuangco and Garcia stressed the importance of monitoring the performance and conditioning of the athletes before they can see action in Myanmar.

“If they are training locally they must undergo the physical conditioning program designed by Australian fitness expert Ricky Martin. Those who fail the regimen will be cut,” said Tamayo, adding: “We will also draw up a program for their psychological or mental conditioning as part of their build-up.”

Tamayo is scheduled to leave today for the new Burmese capital of Nay Pyi Taw to attend the SEA Games delegation registration meeting on Monday.

“Hopefully when we get there, we will have a general outlook with what awaits us in Myanmar,” he said.