Chef-de-mission Lozada pushes for 800 athletes in 1,200-strong delegation to Phnom Penh games

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THE PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) has sounded the warning bells — it’s time to meet up and talk with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) since the Phnom Penh Southeast Asian Games is just less than four months away.

“Hopefully, we’ll be officially meeting with the PSC not later than Wednesday next week to get the task rolling,” said Chito Loyzaga, chef-de-mission (CDM) of the country seeing action in the biennial meet set May 5 to 17 in the Cambodian capital, during the POC executive board meeting in Tagaytay City.

While PSC Chairman Richard Bachmann, who has just assumed his position for only two weeks, vowed his full support to SEA Games-bound team, he hasn’t officially sat with his POC counterparts yet to finalize everything.

“The POC objective is to participate in all events possible, there’s no issue there,” said the basketball legend and national baseball chief. “That’s our mindset, the CDM staff and the entire organization.”

Mr. Loyzaga said he’s looking at fielding about 800 athletes and 1,200-strong delegation to 13-day event that programmed 608 events in 49 sports, which was far larger than the 530 events in 56 sports in the 2019 edition the Philippines hosted and the 526 events in 40 sports in Vietnam a year back.

“With that goal, we’re looking at a more than 800-athlete delegation and a total delegation of 1,200 — counting the coaches, medical and administrative staff,” he said.

Mr. Loyzaga said that with the PSC board already constituted with a quorum of a chairman and three commissioners, he is confident that discussions on the Cambodia SEA Games could be done swiftly.

“As a former athlete, I aim to win, always go for the win. But you can’t win all the time,” he said. “It will be a tough challenge in Cambodia.” — Joey Villar