SEA Games: PHI sepak takraw bets hope gold medals shine light on sport

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 02, 2019 07:44 PM
PHI sepak takraw bets hope gold medals shine light on sport
(Photo courtesy of Bianca Dava)

SUBIC - The Philippines made history in sepak takraw in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

With their double gold in the women's and men's hoops last Sunday, the Filipinos won an event in the sport for the first time in the regional meet.

And for the country's sport officials, that should just be the start. "Out of six (events), sana makakuha tayo ng tatlo. You have to understand that powerhouse Thailand is here, but makatatlo lang tayo, boundary na," Pilipinas Sepak Takraw president Karen Tanchanco-Caballero said.

She then continued, "This is the realistic forecast. Sino ba ayaw ng six (golds), but we know our limitations."

Still up for grabs in the sport are six gold medals in doubles and regu in the coming days.

Whether or not the Philippines gets its goal, though, it already has two golds to show for its trouble - and that is already a much-welcome development.

With that, Tanchanco-Caballero said that they are only hoping that this encourages the country's youth to try out sepak takraw. As she put it, "I told (the athletes) that this would make or break the sport in terms of pagkilala. This is very popular in Visayas and Mindanao, but Metro Manila is yet to discover how we are built for the sport."

She then continued, "We want to inspire the youth na meron pang ibang sport na magagaling tayo. This is as Filipino as it can get."

After all, the Philippine governing body is already going all-out in supporting the growth of the sport. "Our athletes really worked hard. They spent time away from their families and nag-commit talaga sila," its president said while also mentioning that the national team had a three-month camp in Thailand as well as month-long training in South Korea before the regional meet.

And of course, that only proved to be a big boost to the Filipinos' gold medal bid. "Yung support ng government, malaking tulong. Pinadala kami sa abroad kaya malaking tulong yun sa preparation," coach Romulo Ruedas said.

He then continued, "Pagdating ng panahon, yung Thailand, baka mabi-beat natin."


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