Much of the optimism at the upcoming 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, rests on pole vaulter EJ Obiena and Olympic medalist Kayla Noelle Sanchez.
The prospects of winning more medals in the continental showpiece will depend on what the rest of the 396 Filipino athletes from 40 sports can deliver.
Boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, both silver medalists at the Tokyo Olympics, are favored to go deeper in the medal rounds, as is middleweight Eumir Marcial, who reached the bronze medal from the previous Olympiad.
Although golfer Yuka Saso will no longer wear the national colors after committing to Japan, Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo and skateboarder Margielyn Didal remain in talks to relive their past triumphs.
Diaz-Naranjo won the gold in the women’s 55 kilograms (kg) in Indonesia, but will not be in the same weight class she ruled at the Olympics after moving up to 59kg. In the meantime, Didal tries to retain her throne in the women’s street.
“Our athletes are all determined to be the best in their respective events, regardless of the competition. We are confident they can make this happen,” said Bambol Tolentino, president of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
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