WITH enough preparation, the 13-man Philippine athletics team is hoping to finally snap a 24-year medal drought in the 2018 Asian Games at the Gelora Bung Karno Main Complex in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Among the players, trackster Eric Shauwn Cray and pole vaulter EJ Obiena are being tipped to have a better shot of winning a medal of any color following their impressive performances in recent Asian tournaments.
But Philippine Athletics’ Track and Field Association (PATAFA) president Dr. Philip Juico said the 11 other athletes cannot be discounted as well due to their experience in international competitions.
“If everything goes right, like timing, pacing, many of our athletes like Harry Diones and Janry Ubas can also spring some surprises,” said Juico. “We are hopeful that they can deliver as well.”
“The one thing good about Kristina Knott is very few in Asia know anything about her. The first time they saw her in action was about a month ago in the Vietnam Open, which was the last tournament we took part in before the Asian Games,” he added.
Other members of the national team are Aries Toledo, Trenten Beram, Anfernee Lopena, Clinton Bautista, Marco Vilog, Francis Medina, Mary Joy Tabal, and Marestella Torres-Sunang.
The last athletics’ medal captured by the Philippines in the Asian Games came in 1994 courtesy of Elma Muros-Posadas with a 6.41-meter leap in long jump.
CAN PH HOST ASIAD, OLYMPICS?
With modern international airport and adequate infrastructures, the Philippines may soon host international sports competitions at the scale of an Asian Games or the Olympics.
Rep. Michael Romero (1-Pacman party-list) said it is high time for the administration to look at international sports events as a way to draw in tourists and as a source of economic growth.
“Many studies show the positive correlation of sports tourism through the hosting of sporting events like the Olympics and World Cup, with the boost in tourism revenues as well as economic activities for the host country,” Romero said.
Romero, also the owner of NorthPort Batang Pier in the PBA, pointed out that better ancillary infrastructure is needed to boost the country’s stature as a sports host.
He cited as example the Philippines’ bid for the hosting rights of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup – the country lost the bid to China due to its lack of infrastructure.
“While we were trumpeting our passion for basketball, China had the decided edge in government support and infrastructure, as well as transportation facilities like roads, playing venues and its airport,” Romero said.
“So if we are even to dream of hosting the Asian Games, which we have not hosted since 1954, or even the Olympics, then we should really take a look at our tourism, as well as transport infrastructure like a new international gateway,” he added.
Romero pointed out that while the Philippines already started building modern sports infrastructure in preparation for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, it is also an opportune time to start putting up a new airport in preparation for bigger sports competitions.
In the mold of modern airports like those in Singapore (Changi) and Incheon (South Korea), San Miguel’s proposed Bulacan or New Manila International Airport appears to be the most suited for the country’s growing needs as it can accommodate more tourists, and spur development at the local and national levels, Romero said.
“Compared to the limited runway facilities of the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport), the proposed Bulacan airport has four runways with the provision for two more in the future. It also has a modern terminal and transportation infrastructure like roads, train system and even a ferry route,” he said./PN