PSC sending ‘lean and mean’ team to Arafura Games 2019
By Lito Delos Reyes
DAVAO CITY (Philippines News Agency) — A lean and mean team will represent the Philippines in the Arafura Games 2019 set to be held from April 26 to May 4 in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.
Mark Edward Velasco, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) national training director and the delegation’s Deputy Chef de Mission, said the team is composed of 120 athletes and coaches who will participate in 10 of 17 calendared sports.
“PSC Chairman William Ramirez’s instruction was to send a strong team, to select the best among our players in the developmental level,” Velasco said.
Velasco said the “rigorous selection process” was part of PSC’s ‘sports pyramid’ where the best athletes from grassroots level will be given the opportunities to test their mettle against their global counterparts.
“Although the Arafura Games is a friendly competition, the level is high given the number and skills of the competitors they will be facing. It is a good exposure,” Velasco said.
He said more than 97 percent of the Philippine team members hail from Mindanao with Davao City sending around 70 athletes. Other members come from Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Davao del Norte, General Santos and Palawan. The team is composed of the winners of the Philippine National Games, Batang Pinoy and Palarong Pambansa.
Velasco said the team is set to leave on April 24 on board a Philippine Airlines chartered flight.
He said more than 15,000 athletes and coaches will join the Arafura Games which will be held after eight years of absence due to a global health scare in 2011.
The Filipino-Australian Association of the Northern Territories led by Raul Daet, as well as the Philippine Consulate headed by Consul John Rivas, have all pledged their support to Team Philippines. (PNA)