Send only the best to Asiad
By: Nick Giongco (Manila Bulletin)

The Incheon Asian Games Task Force has asked national sports associations to recommend only the most worthy athletes to compete in the quadrennial sportsfest scheduled Sept. 19-Oct. 4.

“We in the Task Force have told the NSA leaders to be realistic and not kid ourselves anymore when they submit their proposed lineup for the Asian Games,” said TF member and Philippine Olympic Committee chairman (POC) Tom Carrasco yesterday.

“If they submit a bloated lineup, it will only take us time to make the final selection. So, I have urged them to refrain from doing the things they’ve gotten used to.”

In the past, majority of the NSAs submit long list of athletes its leaders say have genuine chances of winning a medal but more often than not wound up going home empty-handed.

“We don’t want the same thing happening again,” said Carrasco.

Carrasco said Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Richie Garcia, who is the chief of mission to Incheon, wants the TF to make the selection as early as possible so the PSC can begin funding their overseas training and exposure.

So far, the basketball team Gilas-Pilipinas, the men’s rugby team, the women’s softball team and two BMX riders (cycling) have been assured berths in Incheon.

Carrasco believes the final count will just be around 200 athletes.

In the last Asian Games in Guangzhou, the Philippines sent 188 athletes who competed in 29 sports.

Carrasco said the country will likely take part in a little over 20 of 35 sports calendared, including 26 Olympic and traditional disciplines.

The Philippines won three gold medals, four silver and nine bronzes in Guangzhou.

Carrasco wants the NSAS involved to submit their probable lineup by the end of the month.