Marathoner Mary Joy Tabal and archer Amaya Amparo Cojuangco hope to win the country’s first gold medals ahead of the formal opening ceremonies of the 29th Southeast Asian Games on Aug. 19 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tabal and Cojuangco settled for the silver medal in their respective events two years ago in Singapore.
Buoyed up by a stint in the Rio Olympics and months of overseas training, Tabal is expected to contend for the gold medal just hours before the formal opening.
Cojuangco, on the other hand, sees action in the women’s individual compound event on Aug. 16.
A total of 18 gold medals will be contested ahead of the SEAG opening.
Joining Tabal in marathon is Jeson Oyco Agravante, the country’s lone entry in the men’s event.
Five gold medals will be at stake in archery from Aug. 16 to Aug. 18 at the Merdeka Square.
Aside from Cojuangco, the other archers seeing action are Joseph Benjamin Vicencio, Niron Brylle Concepcion, Paul Marton dela Cruz, Earl Benjamin Yap, Jennifer Chan, Kim Concepcion and Abbigail Tindugan.
The Filipinos won a silver and three bronze medals in the compound event in Singapore.
Aside from athletics and archery, the other disciplines staking medals before the SEAG opening are open water swimming (2 golds), synchronized swimming (3 golds), water polo (1 gold) and sepak takraw (5 golds).
Mico Anota, Roy Caneta Teodoro, Melissa Gray Courtney and Erica Kristy Lukang plunge into action on Aug. 17 at the Putrajaya water sports complex.
Synchronized swimming gets going on Aug. 17 at the National Aquatic Centre with Ruth Desiree Abiera, Aaliyah Isabel Pacheco, Allyssa Marey Salvador and Jemimah Nissi Tiambeng seeing action.
Gold medals will be disputed in the solo free routine and solo technical routine on Aug. 17 and the duo technical routine the following day.
The 14-day sepak takraw event kicks off on Aug. 16 with five golds at stake in the chinlone events.
Competing in chinlone are Alvin Pangan, Emmanuel Escote, Joebart Jumawan, John Carlo Lee, John Jeffrey Morcillos, John John Bobier, Regie Reznan Pabriga, Rhenwil Catana and Ronsited Gabayeron.
Action in football and netball starts on Aug. 14.