INCHEON, Korea—Chief of Mission Ricardo ‘Ritchie’ Garcia has a good feeling the gold medals would come for Team Philippines on the later days of the 17th Asian Games.
Garcia, also the chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) which funded the training and participation of Filipino athletes here, is unperturbed with the delegation’s slow start that netted only two silvers and one bronze medal from wushu since Games hostilities started last Friday.
Boxing still has five boxers left among the six fighters sent to the warzone since Wednesday.
“Five of six isn’t a bad ratio,” said Garcia of the boxers, who have been a constant source of medals in Philippine international multi-sports campaigns.
The best medal won by the Philippines was a silver from the Olympics courtesy of Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco in 1996 in Atlanta.
Before him, the late Anthony Villanueva was the first to hand the Philippines a silver medal in boxing in 1964 in Tokyo.
Velasco’s brother, Rhoel, also won an Olympic bronze medal in 1992 in Barcelona. Rhoel is coaching the Asiad team with his elder brother Nolito.
Only lighwelterweight Dennis Galvan has suffered a loss when he bowed to Mongolia’s Chinzoriq Baatarsuk, 0-3, later Thursday.
The rest—middleweight Wilfredo Lopez, lightflyweight Mark Anthony Barriga, bantamweight Mario Fernandez, lightweight Charly Suarez, and flyweight Ian Clark Bautista have advanced into the round of 16.
Female boxers Nesthy Petecio (lightweight) and Josie Gabuco (flyweight) are set to fight their first matches today.
The taekwondo jins are also set to check in today along with the rugby team, which is gunning for a slot in their own World Championship.
Garcia said the country could count on the fearless jins, along with young women golfers who are doing well in their game.
“Also, there’s karatedo and BMX cycling which could still give us gold medals. Until the games are over, we should strive hard to win here,” Garcia said.