Garcia: No limit to Asiad team but…

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 07 2014 03:32 PM | Updated as of Jan 07 2014 11:32 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Sports Commission will not close the door on any Filipino athlete that has a chance to win a medal – of any color – in this year’s Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

Richie Garcia, PSC chairman and chef-de-mission of Team Philippines to the Asian Games in September, is not about to draw the line.

Garcia said there’s no limit in the size of the delegation as long as the athletes are qualified.

“We will send as many qualified athletes as we can,” he told The STAR yesterday.

In the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, the Philippine sent 188 athletes that vied in 29 sports. Less than 10 percent brought home medals.

Boxing, billiards and bowling delivered three gold medals on top of the four silvers and nine bronzes won by Team Philippines.

The task force to the Guangzhou Asiad, then led by chef-de-mission Jose Romasanta, enforced strict criteria in forming the team.

Romasanta, now first vice president of the Philippine Olympic Committee, said the same thing should be done this year if the country wants quality participation.

Garcia readily agreed.

“Yes,” said Garcia when asked if the criteria for the coming Asian Games will be as strict or even stricter than before.

“We have to if we want to be represented well in Incheon. The Asian Games is next to the Olympics outside the world championships,” added the PSC chairman.

Garcia said first on the chart is the formation of the task force, the screening committee and eventually the criteria to be used.

Jose Cojuangco, POC president, expects everything to be in place by the end of the month, and by February, the selection of the athletes should begin.

“Then we will quarter the athletes all the way to the Asian Games,” said Cojuangco.