SEA Games: Philippines target haul of 50 gold medals in Kuala Lumpur this month
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SEA Games: Philippines target haul of 50 gold medals in Kuala Lumpur this month

PHILIPPINES are targeting 50 gold medals at this month’s Southeast (SEA) Asian Games in Malaysia – which would be their biggest tally on foreign soil since 1993.

Philippines bagged 29 gold medals last time, finishing sixth in the medal table in Singapore, behind Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

But chef de mission Cynthia Carrion-Norton has suggested 50 is a “reasonable” target based on projections by the national commissions of each sport competing in Kuala Lumpur.

Speaking to AFP, she said: “The president of each sports commission promised me and it was (a total of) 63 but I don’t expect that. I think aiming for 50 is more reasonable.

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“I said if you think you can’t do it, lower (the target).”

Were Philippines to win 50 golds between August 19-30, it would be their best tally since their record high of 113 when they hosted the games in 2005.

It would also represent their best haul on foreign soil since they went to Singapore in 1993 and returned with 57 gold medals.

In recent years, however, Philippines have been much less prolific in the regional multi-sport event, winning 29, 29, 37, 38 and 41 golds, respectively, in the last five editions.

Carrion-Norton said Philippines are expecting to win five gold medals in both wushu and archery, and four each from lawn bowls and taekwondo.

But there are no wins expected in swimming, diving, field hockey or netball, which are not widely played in the country.

Carrion-Norton voiced frustration that sports in which Philippines had dominated, such as boxing, had had their number of medal events cut significantly, or, in the case of softball, eliminated completely.

“They took out weightlifting for women which we would win with Hidilyn Diaz,” she added, referring to the 2016 Olympic silver medallist.