MANILA - The Philippine Sports Commission said Manila's delegation to the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam is aiming to finish in the Top 3 spot.
"Ang thinking ko was we will try to shoot for the top three, we should be in the top three position," said Ramon Fernandez, commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission. "That's more achievable, I believe."
Fernandez explained that the SEA Games host country, Vietnam, was performing ahead of the other participating countries because it picked the places where the sporting events would be held. He noted this was similar with Manila back when it hosted the SEA Games in 2019.
But Fernandez added that Manila's delegation of athletes was ready to perform well at the Games despite the COVID-19 pandemic because they trained for the sports meet in what he called a "bubble setup."
"They were all over Metro Manila, Baguio, Samar, wherever in the provinces. So nag-bubble training sila, kaya ready naman ang mga atleta natin and I'm pretty sure that the other Southeast Asian countries' athletes also encountered the same challenges, so palagay ko pantay-pantay tayo as far as preparation is concerned," he said.
The Philippines – which finished with a record 149 gold medals at the 30th SEA Games in 2019 – entered Saturday's events with five gold, 11 silver, and 11 bronze medals, putting it at fifth place. Above it were Thailand, with six gold medals, Indonesia with seven gold medals, Malaysia with 11 gold medals, then host country Vietnam.
One of those gold medals was contributed by gymnast Carlos Yulo.
Right after Fernandez's interview, Fernando Casares bagged for Manila its sixth gold medal in men's triathlon, while countryman Kim Remolino took silver.
As mandated by law, those who will bring home a gold medal will get P300,000 from the government. Silver medalists meanwhile will get P150,000 and bronze medalists will get P60,000.