ANGELES CITY, Philippines – Mark your calendars! The Philippines has less than a year left until it hosts the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2019.
Athletes and sports officials flocked to Bayanihan Park in Angeles City, Pampanga on Friday, November 30, for the grand one year countdown celebration.
"This is a great time for Philippine sports," said Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas.
WATCH: Philippines launches its #2019SEAGames countdown clock! The country has less than 365 days to go before it hosts the 30th Southeast Asia Games. #WeWinAsOne | @beebeego09 pic.twitter.com/gZCe6nIih0 — Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) November 30, 2018
The #2019SEAGames countdown celebration caps off with a stunning display of fireworks! #WeWinAsOne | @beebeego09 pic.twitter.com/M9H3Xtx8S7 — Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) November 30, 2018
The Philippines will be holding more than 500 events over 56 sports across 4 main venues – New Clark City Sports Complex, Subic, Manila and Tagaytay – making it the biggest SEA Games in history.
Some of the new sports include skateboarding – where the Philippines will field Asian Games golden girl Margielyn Didal – windsurfing, obstacle course and esports.
As the Philippines will field bets in each sporting event, SEA Games chef de mission of Team Philippines Monsour del Rosario is confident of the country's medal chances.
"Kasi ang delegation nila, hindi kasing laki ng delegation natin. Ang mga events na sasalihan nila and papasukan ng mga atleta nila para magcompete, hindi lahat ng events so malaking chances natin," said Del Rosario.
(The delegations from other countries are not as big as ours. Their athletes will not join in all 56 events so our chances are big.)
"I’m targetting top 3, but of course we want to be overall. It’s not an easy job, but we will do our best."
This is the 4th time the Philippines will be hosting the regional biennial meet, the last in 2005 when the country bagged the overall championship.
However, performance has dipped over the years and the Philippines crashed to its worst SEA Games finish of 6th place – 24 golds, 33 silvers, and 64 bronzes – since 1999 in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur games. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.