2008  BEJING  OLYMPICS:  DIVERS  LEAD  RP  BETS  TO  CHINA  FOR  TRAINING

MANILA, MAY 5, 2007
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - After some delay, the first batch of Filipino athletes who are gearing up for the 2008 Beijing Olympics are finally set to leave for China on May 28.

Divers Shiela Mae Perez and Zardo Domenios, who made their Olympic debuts in the 2000 in Sydney, lead the 29 athletes who will undergo training under world-class Chinese coaches.

"These athletes will train hard in China – free of any distraction. It’s not going to be a picnic. They will train everyday. This is a great sacrifice on their part," said Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez.

The athletes from six different sports will be accompanied by 10 coaches who are also hoping to learn from their foreign counterparts.

Aside from Perez and Domenios, six other divers will join the China training that may last for months depending on the availability of the funds from the Philippine Sports Commission.

The other divers are Niño Carog, Dhayna Lemay, Nicole Lemay, Jaime Asok, Rexel Ryan Fabriga and Kevin Kong. Their coaches are Rommel Kong, Lawrence Ifurong, Rodolfo Pahoyo and Brian Pallatao.

Eight fencers will join the trip. They are Michelle Mancenido, Ma. Del Carmen Galvez, Michelle Bruzola, Mary Rose Alfonso, Bryant Cabantac, Bonifacio Jacintos, Ralph Ramos and Harris Orendain. Walter Torres is their lone coach.

From wushu, a demonstration sport in the Beijing Olympics, the athletes are Benjie Rivera, Eduard Folayang, Rhea May Rifani, Mary Rose Estimar, Willy Wang and Janice Hung.

Gymnasts Roel Ramirez, Raissa Saguisag and Danica Calapatan and coaches Sonny Ty, Normita Ty and Antonio Valenzuela will be part of the delegation along with swimmers Kendrick Uy, Gerardo Bordado and Ernest Dee and weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz.

Coaches Carlos Brosas of swimming and Ramon Solis of weightlifting will join their respective athletes.

The trip to China was originally scheduled last March but was delayed due to different reasons, including the lack of budget and the late submission of the athletes‚ profiles by the different sports associations.

But the PSC has released a contingency fund for the training while it awaits the help of the private sector.

Fifteen sports and close to 60 athletes were placed under the special Olympic program aimed at giving the Philippines its first Olympic gold medal. The other disciplines are equestrian, lawn tennis, taekwondo, boxing, beach volley, rowing, shooting, archery and athletics.

The other countries being considered as training venues for the rest of the Olympic hopefuls are Cuba, France, Germany, Russia, Korea, Japan and United States.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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