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Filipino athletes going to SEA Games reduced to 840

Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino (second from left) leads the Torch Relay with (from left) chef de mission Chito Loyzaga, Cambodia Ambassador to the Philippines Phan Peuv and Tourism Minister Hor Sarun. POC
By Ivan Saldajeno

TAGAYTAY—From 905 down to 840.

Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino confirmed on Monday that the number of athletes going to Phnom Penh for the Southeast Asian Games has been cut down.

"From the previously announced 905, it was reduced to 840," Tolentino said right after the SEA Games torch rally here.

However, the concurrent city mayor here allayed concerns that it could be trimmed further as he said that it will be the final count.

Two of the reasons Tolentino cited were more on the typographical side of things like some names being placed twice and some others placed in the wrong event.

However, he also revealed that some athletes could not make it to the Cambodian capital either because they are listed as "reserves" or because they couldn't get their expired passports renewed in time for the May 5 formal opening or the scheduled Day 1 of their events if they will begin before the opening rites.

The SEA Games will actually begin on April 29 with two sports opening shop like football.

Despite the reduction in number, the final athlete count remains more than the around 600 that was initially projected, and Tolentino sees the improvement from the initial count as a boost for the Philippine team's goal to match or even better its fourth-place finish in the medal tally during last year's edition in Hanoi.

"That's the big challenge: how can we attain the fourth-place standing or better than that? Medyo mahirap, but dahil sa fighting spirit ng atleta natin at saka nadagdagan from 600 to 800, we might," Tolentino further said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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