2017 SEA Games: Paving the way to 50 gold medals for the Philippines

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Highlights

  • Philippine delegation targets a minimum of 50 gold medals in 2017 SEA Game
  • NSAs promised PH chef de mission Cynthia Carrion-Norton 63 gold medals
  • 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia opens on August 19.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Since 2005 the Philippines has spent all the following editions of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the quagmire of mediocrity, but this year's delegation is looking to change that.

After the Philippines hosted the event in 2005, the country's gold medal tally took a nose dive with each passing edition of the games.

In 2007, the Philippines followed up their 113 gold medal haul in Manila with a paltry 41 gold medals to sink to sixth place in Thailand.

Things did not get better from there, with the Philippines only earning 38 (2009), 36 (2011), 29 (2013), and 29 (2015) gold medals in the years that followed.

But the Philippine team is confident that the downward trend is over, and that a bounce back year is finally on the cards.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Philippine SEA Games chef de mission Cynthia Carrion-Norton explained that this year's 495-person national contingent has optimistic goals.

"I asked each one of them (the National Sports Associations), how many golds can you give me? So they promised me," Carrion-Norton said. "When I went over all the sports, they promised me 63 gold medals."

The leap from 29 gold medals in 2015 to a prospective 63 is a tall order for the Philippine delegation to complete, but Carrion-Norton says that the number has its basis.

According to the Philippine chef de mission, the officials from all the National Sports Associations made those promises and she merely tallied them.

Carrion-Norton showed the list to CNN Philippines, which charted out the roadmap to the 63 gold medals they believe they can earn.

SEA-GOLD-MEDALS-infogfx.png  

Being unable to achieve the 63 gold medal haul won't mean the delegation's trip is a failure, but the gauge for what makes a successful campaign was raised even higher as well.

"I am not relying on the 63, I am only relying on 50," Carrion-Noton said.

Gunning for success in Malaysia

Even if the Philippines lowered its goal to 50 gold medals, it will still be a monumental task for the Filipinos competing.

The Philippines will compete in 37 of the 38 sports at Kuala Lumpur, with the lone exception being cricket.

There will be 405 events throughout the 38 sports, which means the desire to cop 50 gold medals doesn't require the Philippines to dominate each of the sports they are participating in.

The Filipino delegation looks to overcome the removal of certain sports where it historically harvests gold medals, such as women's boxing, women's weightlifting, and softball, with a more democratic approach.

The Philippines hope to find success in the newly added winter games, and look to improve on their 2015 performances in sports like wushu and archery.

Given the Philippines' history at the games, some quarters are skeptical of delegation's lofty ambitions for this year.

But Carrion-Norton maintains a rosy outlook despite criticisms that come her way.

"A lot of the media, from the Philippine media. They said, ma'am, sorry but you will not get that," Carrion-Norton shared. "Don't be negative! I know we will get that (50 gold medals)."

The ambition and confidence is there for the Philippines, but it is what they show in the fields of play that will ultimately tell whether or not that optimism is unfounded.

The 2017 SEA Games opens in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 19.

Also read: PH withdraws as 2019 SEA Games hosts; funds to be diverted to Marawi rehab