Filipino athletes under the Go For Gold program are gearing up for peak performance in time for the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Nikko Huelgas, the reigning two-time men’s triathlon SEA Games champion, is leaving no stone unturned after getting a feedback that his challengers will come out stronger in the 11-nation meet scheduled here in the Philippines on Nov. 30-Dec. 11.
Asian Games champion Margielyn Didal has decided to push herself to the limit as the Cebuana skateboarding idol competes in an ongoing Olympic qualifying tournament in Brazil while Go For Gold cyclists, led by Jonel Carcueva and Rex Krog, are ready for more punishing races ahead.
“Our athletes have produced good results this year and with continued support, I believe they can perform better in the SEA Games,’’ said Go For Gold godfather Jeremy Go.
Also expected to deliver next year are the dragonboat team of the Philippine Canoe Kayak Dragonboat Federation, which gained worldwide success after winning five gold medals in the world championships in the United States four months ago.
The national sepak takraw squad are focused on improving its craft following a one-gold, three-bronze medal haul in the recent world championships held in Thailand while Filipino wrestlers will gain more foreign exposures as needed to keep up with the best grapplers in the region.
“There are still many things our program needs to improve on, including the selection of tournaments where our athletes are bound to compete,’’ said Go For Gold project director Ednalyn Hualda.
According to Go, Team Go For Gold will also take care of the training and foreign exposure of junior cyclists in the national team in partnership with PhilCycling to produce a Filipino Olympian in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
That’s apart from the Go For Gold continental team that was recently launched featuring Filipino riders who will get the chance to race against the most battle-ready road cyclists on the planet.
“Different types of sports have a wide variety of needs. The Go For Gold program is trying to fulfill those needs to make the athletes perform at their best,’’ said Hualda.
Aside from helping national athletes in cycling, dragonboat and sepak takraw, Go For Gold has been lending its hand for the success of the men’s triathlon squad, the skateboarding team and elite Filipino wrestlers.
Photo caption: Bigger international races are scheduled in 2019 for the Go For Gold continental cycling team to send a Filipino cyclist to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.