MANILA – Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Richard “Dickie'' Bachmann believes it is now time for the new sensations in gymnastics and weightlifting to shine in the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games with the main people in the sports not joining the event.
Bachmann confirmed on Tuesday that former world gymnastics champion Caloy Yulo and world weightlifting champion Hidilyn Naranjo will be skipping the SEA Games this May in Phnom Penh as this will coincide with their respective roads to the Paris Olympics.
Yulo will gun for a spot in next year's Summer Olympics in the Olympic qualifiers, which will fall within the SEA Games schedule from May 5 to 17, 2023.
"The last time I talked to Ma'am Cynthia Carrion (gymnastics president), [she said] that he will not actually be joining the Southeast Asian Games," Bachmann said in his first appearance at the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum as PSC chief at the agency's headquarters inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila.
On the other hand, Naranjo, the Philippines' first-ever Olympic gold medalist, will compete in the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Jinju, South Korea, which also serves as a qualifying tournament for the Olympics.
With two potentially assured golds in the SEA Games gone, Bachmann thinks the current crop of gymnasts and weightlifters as well as athletes from other sports to be the next people up in striving to win it all in the Cambodian capital.
"It's a perfect time for other athletes to actually step up and perform for the national team," Bachmann said. "That's why we have a national pool and a grassroots program so everyone is involved." (PNA)