The country would need to do something it hasn't accomplished in 12 editions of the Southeast Asian Games if it hopes to reach the gold-medal target that one sports official has set.
Cynthia Carrion, the Philippines' newly appointed chef de mission to the SEA Games, said she expects Filipino athletes to bring home 50 gold medals or more, as local athletes try to better their production from the 2015 Games in Singapore.
The Filipinos took home 29 gold, 36 silver, and 56 bronze medals.
At the Philippine Sportswriters' Association forum at Phoenix Grand Hotel on Tuesday, Carrion said the delegation will be composed of "people who can really bring home medals" and that the athletes will number "realistically, 400."
Carrion added: "I want to surpass 50 (golds)."
|Philippines' SEA Games gold total since '93
|* - Games held in the Philippines
|(Numbers courtesy of Wikipedia)
She didn't say exactly what the basis was for her prediction, but it's a lofty objective if one goes by the country's history at the Games.
The last time the Philippines won more than 50 gold medals in a Games it didn't host was in 1993, when the country bagged 57.
The most it has won on foreign soil since was 48 at the Vietnam Games in 2003. In Manila in 2005, the Philippines won a record 113 gold medals.
Tom Carrasco, who represents the Philippine Olympic Committee in the national SEA Games Task Force, was more coy about his outlook.
"It's premature to make projections right now," Carrasco said.
Carrasco did acknowledge that it will be good for the country's campaign if non-traditional sports such as such as pencak silat, lawn balls, muay thai, and water skiing will be able to deliver, outside of the traditional events that are also contested in the Olympics and Asian Gaems.
"We get 3 or 5 golds at the most, bonus na sa atin ito," said Carrasco, who also lamented the absence of the traditional boat race and dance sports — events that were left out by host country Malaysia.
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