MANILA, Aug. 10 -- The Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines (FESSAP) is sending 12 badminton athletes to the 2017 Summer Universiade slated August 19-30 in Taipei City, Taiwan.
JC Clarito from University of Perpetual Help in Laguna is the skipper of the men's team composed of Marc Lawrence Marfa (De La Salle-Lipa), Jerome Pechera (Mapua), Adriean Rigonan (College of Saint Benilde), Ruben Haramel (Rizal Technological University), Joshua Gacis (Polytechnic University of the Philippines).
The women's team line-up has Gilly Chavez (De La Salle-Dasmarinas), Loverly Dezelle Magallano (Lyceum of the Philippines), Christine Garin (Adamson University), Gielyn Ochoa (College of Saint Benilde), Samantha Citron (De La Salle-Lipa) and Denisse Estrella (Mapua).
Clarito and Chavez have participated in the 2015 Universiade in Gwanju, South Korea while the rest of players are first-timers who have earned slots in the Philippine team after competing in the 5th National Students Badminton Championship which was used by FESSAP as qualifying tournament.
The Universiade is considered as the Olympics of student-athletes and the Filipino athletes are expected to face a strong challenge from their foreign rivals.
"I believe that the athletes are very much ready for the tournament. They made sure that they are in great shape and on top of their games for the upcoming Summer Universiade," said Clarito when asked on how ready are the Philippine badminton team in an interview on Thursday.
Clarito, who represented the Philippines in a leadership forum in Kazan, Russia last month, said the players have been training and competing in local tournaments to develop their skills and increase their confidence level.
"Our team has high hopes for the Universiade. The athletes, especially the first-timers, find the tournament very challenging although I believe that with their positive attitude, giving up will not be an option but rather winning is their only goal," Clarito said.
Aside from badminton, the Philippines will also compete in athletics, archery, badminton, billiards, golf, judo, lawn tennis, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, weightlifting and wushu.
The Philippines has competed in the three previous editions of the Universiade in Shenzen, China (2011); Kazan, Russia (2013) and Gwangju, Korea (2015).
In 2011, Samuel Thomas Harper Morrison won a silver in taekwondo while Grandmaster Wesley So pocketed the gold in chess in Kazan. (PNA)