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Riding Olympics momentum, PH eyes Aimag success


Bambol Tolentino POC

FILE – POC president Bambol Tolentino. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Putting premium on winning medals in individual and weight-categorized events, a fighting delegation of 160 athletes from 21 sports will sign up for the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to battle the continent’s finest in the 2022 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (Aimag) in Thailand.

“We have put together a delegation whose members are all potential for the medals,’’ said POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino on Tuesday. “The objective is to ride the momentum of the Tokyo Olympics success and surpass our two gold medals won in the last Aimag.’’

Jiujitsu fighters Meggie Ochoa (women Ne-waza -45 kilograms) and Annie Ramirez (women Ne-waza -55kgs) claimed the twin golds in the previous 2017 Aimag held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The POC has yet to release the names of the athletes in the delegation, and it is still unsure if both fighters will defend their golds.

Tolentino will present the Team Philippines contingent together with chef de mission and karate chief Ricky Lim in an online meeting among national Olympic committee presidents and chefs de mission on Wednesday.

In Ashgabat, 105 Filipino athletes competed in 17 of 21 sports and brought home a total of 30 medals, including 14 silvers and 14 bronzes.

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, the country’s first Olympic gold medalist, was part of the 2017 delegation and captured a silver medal in the women’s 53kg category.

“This will be our first major tournament after the Tokyo Olympics. We have to sustain the winning momentum,’’ said Tolentino.

Boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam claimed silver medals in Tokyo, Eumir Marcial got a bronze and with Diaz, they propelled the country to its best ever performance in the Olympics.

Among the sports where Filipino athletes will participate in the Aimag, set on March 10 to 20 in Bangkok and Chonburi, are aquatics, 3×3 basketball, billiards, bowling, chess, dancesport, e-sports, indoor athletics, indoor rowing, jiu-jitsu, karate and kickboxing.

Medals will be heavily expected from that group, with hope that those from muay, kurash, pencak silat, sambo, sepak takraw, shooting, skateboarding, taekwondo and wrestling will also deliver. INQ

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