by Nick Giongco
The national athletes are determined to do well on home soil when the 30th Southeast Asian Games take the spotlight later in the year, according to the leadership of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
POC president Ricky Vargas said in a recent chat with sportswriters that despite the issues surrounding the country’s hosting of the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 biennial sportsfest, “the athletes are self-motivated.”
Vargas reveals that the athletes have been giving him updates regarding their respective training.
“I am in touch with them,” said Vargas, noting that “many of them have gone overseas to train, including 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and some teammates.
During the Christmas season, many of these athletes had to relocate themselves to give way to the refurbishing of the athletes’ quarters and facilities both at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila, Philsports in Pasig and Teacher’s Camp in Baguio City.
But things are back to where they were. “We are going back to normal,” he said.
The host team is fielding almost 2,000 athletes to the SEAG that will have as main host the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, Metro Manila and key cities in Central and Southern Luzon.
There will be almost 530 gold medals in 56 sports at stake with the Philippines determined to take the overall crown.