MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia can only hope for the best for the Filipino athletes vying in the London Olympics from July 27 to Aug. 12.
Garcia told yesterday's PSA Forum at Shakey's in UN Avenue that while the 11 Filipino bets are in high spirits, it’s very difficult to raise the expectations.
"I am not predicting any medal tally," he said. "But I will not be surprised if one of them brings home a medal."
The PSC chief said he's very confident the Filipinos are ready to perform well against the world’s best, and will represent the country the best way they can.
"They already gave their best in preparing for the Games. They are all healthy so it's safe to predict that our athletes in London will give their best," said Garcia.
The Philippines has not won a medal in the Olympics since boxer Mansueto Velasco took the silver in the light-flyweight division of the 1996 Games in Atlanta.
Making up the Philippines team to London are Marestella Torres and Rene Herrera of athletics, Rachel Cabral and Mark Javier of archery, Jasmine Alkhaldi and Jessie Lacuna of swimming, Brian Rosario of shooting, Daniel Caluag of BMX, Mark Anthony Barriga of boxing, Tokoshina Hoshina of judo and Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting.
Most of the athletes are already in London, taking part in pre-Olympic training camps put up by the International Olympic Committee.
"It's good to be there early because you get the chance to adjust to the weather. Papalit-palit ang weather sa London (There's constant change in weather in London). And we don't want them to get sick with even the ordinary flu," he said.
Garcia said the PSC has done its share in preparing the athletes.
"But it only goes as far as funding them. The selection and training of the athletes are in the hands of the national sports associations (NSAs) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC)," he added.
Garcia said he can't pinpoint any particular athlete or sport that may deliver the medal for the Philippines because each one of them has the chance.
"I think it will be unfair to everyone if I pick one or two athletes," said Garcia, who was accompanied to the forum by PSC executive director Guillermo Iroy.
"That we will be coming home with 11 gold medals would be a very nice thing to say. But all the best in the world will be there.
"A credible performance will be enough to make us happy. But winning a medal would even be nicer," Garcia added.