THE country will field 395 athletes to the Hangzhou 19th Asian Games in September, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino announced on Friday.
“The number reached 400 but was later trimmed down after a series of deliberations by the POC and the national sports associations,” said Tolentino after the POC General Assembly at the East Ocean Seafood Restaurant.
Tolentino said the athletes will compete in 37 of the 40 sports in the ultra-modern city of Hangzhou from September 24 to October 8.
The Philippines aims to match or surpass the four gold medals won in the last edition in Jakarta and Palembang five years ago—Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo in weightlifting, Margielyn Didal in skateboarding and Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go in women’s individual and team golf.
The country also clinched two silvers and 15 bronzes.
Tolentino said Kayla Sanchez, who formerly competed for Canada, is favored to win medals in five events in swimming.
Tolentino also added Philippine Skating Union president Nikki Cheng as a deputy chef de missions to the Asian Games because she speaks fluent Chinese.
She joins chef de mission Richard Gomez and deputy Karen Caballero.
“Her expertise in communicating in the Chinese language will really help us there,” Tolentino said.
The International Jet Sports Boating Association, meanwhile, was accepted as the POC’s 55th regular voting member and the Cheerleading Association of the Philippines as the ninth associated member.