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Philippines to field 160 athletes in 6th AIMAG in Thailand

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THE Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) cleared a 160-athlete delegation that will compete in 21 of the 31 sports in the sixth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) Thailand is hosting from March 10 to 20 in Bangkok and Chonburi.

“We have put together a delegation whose members are all potential for the medals,” said POC President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino on Tuesday, stressing the focus of selection is on individual and weight-categorized sports.

“The objective is to ride the momentum of the Tokyo Olympics success and surpass our two gold medals won in the last AIMAG in Turkmenistan in 2017,” Tolentino added.

Margarita Ochoa (women Ne-waza – 45 kgs) and Annie Ramirez (women Ne-waza -55 kgs) accounted for the two gold medals won in Ashgabat, where 105 Filipino athletes vied in 17 of 21 sports and clinched a total 30 medals (14 silvers and 14 bronzes).

Hidilyn Diaz was part of the delegation to Ashgabat and bagged a weightlifting silver medal. She won again at the Jakarta 2018 Asian Games and clinched the country’s first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.

The 21 sports where Filipino athletes are entered in Thailand are aquatics, 3×3 basketball, billiards, bowling, chess, dancesport, e-sports, indoor athletics, indoor rowing, jiu-jitsu, karate, kickboxing, kurash, muay, pencak silat, sambo, sepak takraw, shooting, skateboarding, taekwondo and wrestling.

Thailand originally scheduled the AIMAG’s sixth edition last May 21 to 30, but was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tolentino said he will present the composition of Team Philippines with chef de mission Ricky Lim, president of the karate association, during the online meeting among national Olympic committee presidents and chefs de mission on Wednesday (September 15).

Forty-five countries, including 18 from Oceania, are expected to send athletes to Thailand.

China is the all-time medals winner in the AIMAG with 419—204-119-96 gold-silver-bronze), followed by Thailand with 359 medals (108-106-145) and Kazakhstan 305 (103-92-110).

The Philippines ranks No. 18 with a total medal haul of 69 (8-26-35).