MANILA — Officials outnumber athletes in the Team Philippines competing in the 29th Olympic Games in Beijing. There are 22 officials, 11 of them coaches, and 15 athletes in the Philippine team, which departs for the Chinese capital in three batches starting on July 29. It’s smaller in size compared to the teams that carried the national colors in the two previous Olympics Games in Sydney, Australia (2000) and Athens, Greece (2004) where the Nationals went home empty-handed in both Summer Games.
Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao will be at the head of the team as flag carrier during the parade of nations opening ceremonies on August 8. On the request of President Macapagal Arroyo, Pacquiao’s no. 1 fan and friend, the POC managed to acquire a slot for the boxing superstar whose role as flag-bearer was initially given to swimming hopeful Miguel Molina.
Pacquiao is scheduled to leave on August 5, in the company of chef de mission Monico Puentevella, Olympic attaché Arturo Macapagal, team doctors and a group of athletes headed by the five swimmers. The first to leave are the administrative officials led by Moying Martelino and athletes Eric Ang of shooting and Mark Javier of archery, who will depart on July 29, or five days before the Philippine flag is raised on August 4 inside the vast Games Village, home of the athletes.
Before they leave, the Filipino athletes and officials will pay a courtesy call on President Arroyo, who is one of the heads of state attending the 3-1/2-hour opening spectacle set inside an architectural wonder named Bird’s Nest. Since competitions in their sport will not begin until the third week of the Olympiad, taekwondo jins Mary Antoinette Rivero and Tshomlee Go will only leave on August 11. Along with boxer Harry Tanamor, Go and Rivero are the only Pinoy athletes given a chance to deliver the first ever gold medal since the country started competing in the once-in-every-four-years Games in 1924 in Paris.
The officials – Monico Puentevella, chef de mission; Arturo Macapagal, Olympic attaché; Mauricio Martelino, administrative official; Patricio Gaspi, coach; Martin Camara, doctor; Alejandro Pineda, doctor; Orson Odulio, doctor; Jose Romasanta, press officer; Manny Pacquiao, flag bearer; Eleanor dela Peña. administrative staff; Jennifer Chan, coach; Ricardo Yang, track and field official; Joseph Sy, coach; Juan Tissert, coach; Zhang Dehu, coach; Mark Joseph, swimming official; James Chua, coach; Jason Calanog, coach; Carlos Brosas, coach; Raul Samson, coach; Kim Hing Sik, coach; Ramon Solis, coach.
The athletes – “Mark Javier, archery; Marestella Torres, athletics; Henry Dagmil, athletics ; Harry Tañamor, boxing; Sheila Mae Perez, diving ; Rexel Ryan Fabriga, diving; Eric Ang, swimming; Daniel Coakley, swimming; Ryan Paolo Arabejo, swimming;, Miguel Molina, swimming; James Walsh, swimming; Joan Christel Simms, swimming; Tshomlee Go, taekwondo; Mary Antoinette Rivero, taekwondo and Hidilyn Diaz, weightlifting. — PNS
Blog Credits: Philippine News.com