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5 outstanding athletes eyed as PH flag-bearer for 30th SEA Games

Date: Oct 12, 2019

EACH outstanding in their respective sports, five athletes are being seriously considered for the prestigious role being the country’s flag-bearer during the opening ceremonies of the 30th Southeast Asian Games on Nov. 1 the 50,000-seat Philippine Sports Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

The athletes are pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena, gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo, skateboarder Margielyn Arda Didal, weightlifter Hidylin Diaz and veteran boxer Felix Eumir Marcial, according to Philippine Sports Commission chairman William “Butch” Ramirez.

Ramirez, who serves at the chef de mission of Team Philippines and co-chairperson of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee, said that these five standouts were short-listed for the distinction after close consultation with his deputies and the Philippine Olympic Committee.

The deputy chef de missions are Stephen Fernandez of taekwondo, Ada Milby of rugby as well his PSC commissioners Ramon Fernandez, Celia Kiram, Charles Maxey and Engr. Arnold Agustin.

The 6-foot-2 Obiena made the country proud in becoming the first Filipino athlete to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games, clearing 5.81 meters to surpass the qualifying standard of 5.80 meters at the Salto Con L’Asta competitions in Piazza, Italy last Sept. 4.

A World Cup gold medalist in the floor exercise in Melbourne, Australia last January, Yulo, 19, is eyeing to be the country’s second Olympic qualifier while competing in the ongoing the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

Perky Cebuana Didal copped the country’s first gold medal in the debuting Asian Games sport of skateboarding in ruling the women’s street event in a smashing Asiad debut in Palembang, Indonesia last year.

Already a silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Oympiad, Diaz, who also copped a medal in the 18th Asian Games, added a new feather to her cap in bagging two bronze medals in the recent world weightlifting championships held in Bangkok, Thailand.

Marcial, who won two Southeast Asian Games boxing golds, secured the silver medal in the men’s middleweight division of the recent world boxing championships held in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

Among these illustrious international campaigners, Diaz already experienced being the PH standard-bearer during eh 2012 London Olympic Games.

"It is possible that all five athletes will get to carry the flag in front of the national team during the SEA Games opening ceremonies," Ramirez said.

The inaugural rites of the biennial sportsfest will be held indoors for the first time in what promises to be a festive and colorful occasion with no less than many-time Palanca awardee and noted stage director Floy C. Quinto and multi-awarded musical maestro Ryan Cayabyab combining for the grand production.