EJ Obiena leads PH gold bets in track, says athletics chief Philip Juico » Manila Bulletin Sports

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EJ Obiena leads PH gold bets in track, says athletics chief Philip Juico


By Nick Giongco

Spiked with talent from overseas, athletics chief Philip Juico announced that host Philippines is banking on six solid gold medal bets in its quest to better its previous performance when the 30th Southeast Asian Games scheduled Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

EJ Obiena

EJ Obiena

After producing five the last time in Kuala Lumpur in 2017, Juico said this year’s batch has what it takes to deliver six although the number could hit 12 if the planets align.

Only Italy-based pole vaulter EJ Obiena, who became the first Filipino qualifier to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is homegrown while Carter Lilly (800 meters), Kristina Knott (110 hurdles), Eric Cray (400 hurdles), William Morrison (shotput) and Natalie Uy (women’s pole vault) are all from the US.

“Right now our own assessment we can probably win six, more than the five (in 2017),” said Juico on Friday.

Those who can make heads turn and win gold are marathoner Mary Joy Tabal, now training in Japan, hurdler Clinton Bautista, Harry Diones in triple jump, Aries Toledo in decathlon and Said Germali in 1500 meters.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed,” said Juico.

The best ever showing by the Philippines in track and field came in the early 1980s when it won 13 gold medals.

Still, Juico feels that when the curtains fall, athletics will log a (gold-silver-bronze) tally of 6-10-8, way better than the 5-3-10 posted two years ago.

Competitions in track and field take place from Dec. 6-10 at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.

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