MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) on Tuesday announced that it will send 160 athletes to the 6th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG), which takes place from March 10 to 20 in Bangkok and Chonburi in Thailand next year.
The Filipino athletes will compete in 21 of the 31 sports in the AIMAG program.
"We have put together a delegation whose members are all potential for the medals," POC President Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino said, as he explained that the focus of their selection is on individual and weight-categorized sports.
"The objective is to ride the momentum of the Tokyo Olympics success and surpass our two gold medals won in the last AIMAG in Turkmenistan in 2017," he added.
Margarita Ochoa (women Ne-waza – 45 kgs) and Annie Ramirez (women Ne-waza - 55 kgs) accounted for the two gold medals won by Team Philippines in Ashgabat, where 105 Filipino athletes vied in 17 of 21 sports and clinched a total 30 medals (14 silvers and 14 bronzes).
Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz was part of the delegation to Ashgabat, and bagged a silver medal in weightlifting. She went on to win gold in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta before winning the Philippines' first ever Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.
The 21 sports where Filipino athletes are entered in Thailand are aquatics, 3x3 basketball, billiards, bowling, chess, dancesport, esports, indoor athletics, indoor rowing, jiu-jitsu, karate, kickboxing, kurash, muay, pencak silat, sambo, sepak takraw, shooting, skateboarding, taekwondo, and wrestling.
The AIMAG was originally set for May 21 to 30, 2021, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tolentino said he will present the composition of Team Philippines with chef de mission Ricky Lim, president of the karate association, during the online meeting among national Olympic committee presidents and chefs de mission on Wednesday (September 15).
Forty-five countries are expected to send athletes to Thailand.