MANILA, Philippines—Filipino badminton athletes training for the Southeast Asian Games try to familiarize themselves with the competition venue when they compete in the Smart National Open at Muntinlupa Sports Center on Nov. 17 to 22.
Christopher Quimpo, secretary-general of the Philippine Badminton Association, the sport’s national governing body, said the squad’s schedule will be hectic, with the SEA Games right around the corner.
“To tell you honestly, we really want to get gold in the SEA Games. As a matter of fact, they are leaving for Malaysia this Sunday,” Quimpo said.
“Then when they get back, they will immediately play in the Open as it will serve as their final prep for the SEA Games.”
Headlining the event are national team players are (men’s singles) Solomon Padiz, Ros Pedrosa, Arthur Salvado and Lanz Zafra; (men’s doubles) Peter Magnaye and Alvin Morada, and Joper Escueta and Paul Pantig; (women’s singles) Nicole Albo, Sarah Barredo, Bianca Carlos, and Mika De Guzman; and (women’s doubles) Thea Pomar and Isay Leonardo, and Geva De Vera and Chanelle Lunod.
National team head coach Bogs Amahit said getting an early feel of the Muntinlupa venue and its flooring could give them an advantage against world-class squads Indonesia and Malaysia.
“Malaking bagay ito sa players, para ma-familiarize sila sa venue before the SEA Games,” he explained. “Talagang magagamit natin ‘yung homecourt advantage natin, because of this.”
Among the innovations that will be unveiled in the tournament are the utilization of tablets for scoring, and the activation of the service fault detection device, which is being used in international tournaments.
The federation is hopeful that the sacrifices made by the national team, which also trained in Indonesia and Australia, will result not just in SEA Games medals, but a possible berth in the Tokyo Olympics next year.
“For most of the year, you’ve probably been hearing, siguro less than zero, about Philippine badminton. It’s because we are dead set in winning gold in the SEA Games and, maybe, make it to the Olympics. We want our national athletes to excel not just here but also in the international scene,” Quimpo said.
” ‘Yung ating mga atleta ay nawala sa kanilang pamilya for the last two months because they are training abroad. Malaki ang kanilang sakripisyo kaya suportahan natin sila.”
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