MANILA, Aug. 10— Top Philippine sports officials on Thursday rallied the 495-strong athletes pool bound for the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to keep their fighting spirit alive for the million Filipinos supporting them.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chair William “Butch” Ramirez, who represented the President, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president, Jose “Peping” Cojuangco and Philippine delegation chef-de-mission Cynthia Carreon led the sending off ceremonies of the SEA Games-bound athletes in Pasay City.
The 5-hour activity aimed at boosting the morale and confidence of athletes to fight for top honors in the biennial regional sports event.
In his speech, Ramirez called on athletes to give their best and draw inspiration from the greatness of Filipino Olympians and other national sports heroes.
For his part, Cojuangco challenged each athlete to follow the ideals of Olympism — putting premium on fairness and sportsmanship.
Carreon, head of the Philippine delegation and president of the local gymnastic federation, likened the athlete to a “pencil” and urged them to do well in their respective sports disciplines.
“We are like pencils, the best part in us is inside. We make marks as we produce the medals (as athletes) or touch other lives,” Carreon said. “We can erase our mistakes to become better athletes and sharpen our skills.”
The 29th SEA Games opening ceremonies will be held at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on August 19.