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Team Philippines hopes to avoid disaster in 5th AIMAG

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A total of 105 national athletes representing Team Philippines try to avoid another disaster campaign in international multi-sport tournament as the country competes in the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games starting September 17 to 27 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

Deputy chef de mission Raymond Reyes leave the country Friday, ahead of the 249 total delegation composed of athletes and officials, hoping that the country will improved on its one gold and two bronzes finish in the quadrennial event organized by the Olympic Council of Asia.

Held once every four years, the tournament gathers the best athletes in the 45 nations across Asia.

“We hope to surpass the 1 gold and 1 bronze medal of our dance pair from the Dance Sports association and bronze of cue artist Rubilen Amit in billiards in our last campaign in this tournament,” said Reyes, also secretary general of Philippine Karatedo Federation (PKF).

It will be the Philippines third straight campaign in the dual tournament which was merged for the first time this year. The Asian Indoor Games is on its fifth year while the Martial Arts Games is on its third year.

The Philippines will compete in 17 out of the total of 21 sports to be played.

As early as their schedule departure on September 14, the delegation has lost some of medal potentials as swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi and Maurice Sacho Ilustre along with weightlifter Nestor Colonia back-out of the meet.

Alkhaldi, who earned three bronze medals in the just concluded 29th Southeast Asian Games, said she needs rest after her campaign in the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia SEAG while Ilustre said his time is not at far with the meet.

Colonia, who also competed in the 56kg of the weightlifting event in the Malaysia SEA Games, let go of his chance due to recurring knee injury, leaving behind all the chances for the medal to Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, who will compete for the first time since she won in 2016.

By Angie Oredo