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Tolentino: Team PHL to surpass four golds in Hangzhou Asiad

PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham Tolentino is positive Team Philippines will build on its “strong performance” in the recent Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) and do a good job of surpassing the four-gold benchmark in the coming Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

The Filipino accounted for four mints in the Palembang Asiad, led by Fil-Japanese golfer Yuka Saso, who snared the individual title and led Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Go to the team plum.

Weighlifting superstar Hidilyn Diaz and skateboarder Margie Didal joined the golf aces in the honor roll there.

Mr. Tolentino is counting again on Tokyo golden girl Mmess. Diaz, Didal and Pagdanganan, the torchbearer of the golf team with Ms. Saso now representing Japan, together with world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo and world No. 3 pole vaulter EJ Obiena and the fancied boxers including Eumir Marcial in the medal rush in the China Asiad.

Two-time Olympic medalist Kayla Sanchez is also expected to make a big splash in her debut for the Philippines.

Mr. Tolentino said about 410 athletes are in the initial list, mostly composed of champions and runners-up of the last SEAG in Cambodia whose sports are part of the Asiad and world and Asian-rated bets vying for slots to the Paris Olympics.

Those outside the criteria may be allowed to go but will have to finance themselves, the POC top executive said.

Team Philippines will be going to battle in the Sept. 23 to Oct. 8 Asiad on the heels of a fighting fifth and 58-85-117 gold-silver-bronze production in the Cambodia SEA Games.

Not only did this improve on the 52-70-105 output in the preceding edition in Hanoi, but also marked the largest take in SEAG meets outside Manila since a 59-gold harvest in the 1987 edition in Indonesia.

“We got 80-plus silvers and 40-plus of that are subjective sports facing Cambodia and Vietnam. Analyze it. Twenty na lang kunin mo doon (as golds) and we would have been third, almost second.” — Olmin Leyba

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