By Nick Giongco
Take it from someone who had a direct hand in the inclusion of 56 sports in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Congressman Bambol Tolentino, who headed the committee that took charge in picking the sports and the approval of 530 events, believes winning the overall crown is within reach.
“A low of 130 (gold medals) and a high of 180 but if it goes beyond, the better,” said Tolentino, who also heads cycling apart from a Tagaytay congressman.
“Do the math, if each NSA can win two gold medals, that’d already be 112 and there are many NSAs that will more than two gold medals,” said Tolentino.
The Philippines, being the host, is fielding the biggest contingent with 1,115 athletes while the other major SEA nation like regional powerhouse Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are sending at least a thousand each.
Vietnam, which has never slipped from the top three since first hosting the biennial event in 2003, is dispatching over 900 bets.
“Remember, I was the one who raised the number of sports to 56 and we studied this carefully,” added Tolentino.
Combat sports—boxing, jujitsu, judo, sambo, kickboxing and wrestling, is expected to shore up the Philippines’ output while dancesport, athletics, gymnastics and skateboarding are likewise right there to jack up the production.
First-place finishes are also being seen in
archery, billiards, bowling, chess, cycling, fencing, golf, ice skating, karatedo, muay, pencak silat, sailing, sepak takraw, shooting, tennis, triathlon, weightlifting and windsurfing.
Last time the Philippines hosted the SEAG in 2005, it captured the overall title for the first time after falling short in 1981 and 1991.