Filipino athletes under the Go For Gold program have delivered both in the local and international scenes in the year that’s about to end.
The paddlers from the Philippine Canoe Kayak Dragonboat Federation have become world champions again after capturing five gold medals in a global meet held in the United States this year before triathlete John Leerams Chicano ruled the prestigious Tri-Factor International Triathlon in China last month.
Cyclists Jonel Carcueva and Rex Luis Krog topped the elite and junior races of the punishing Tour de Linggarjati in Indonesia. Skateboarder Margielyn Didal, who won a gold medal in the Asian Games, is preparing for an Olympic qualifying tournament in Brazil early next year.
“Our national athletes under the Go For Gold program have made the country proud in their respective competitions. Overall, I can say that the program is successful,’’ said Go For Gold godfather Jeremy Go.
Aside from cycling, dragonboat, men’s triathlon and skateboarding, Go For Gold has also embraced the Philippine sepak takraw squad and the national wrestling team in its arms.
“We have succeeded in attaining our goals for 2018. The program has brought home medals from different sports around the world,’’ said Go For Gold project director Ednalyn Hualda. “Still, there are a lot of things that we have to work on to produce more top-caliber athletes.’’
Filipino wrestlers Margarito Angana, Michael Vijay Cater, Noel Norada, Luke Cruz, Minalyn Foy-os and Noemi Tener accounted for the six gold medals during the country’s campaign in the Southeast Asian Senior Wrestling Championships two months ago.
The PH sepak takraw team brought home one gold and three bronze medals from the world championships in Thailand. This was before two-time SEA Games gold medalist Nikko Huelgas ruled the men’s elite category of the National Age Group Triathlon recently.
“We have partnered with the national sports associations of these athletes and teams as we continue to strive for excellence, especially that the Southeast Asian Games next year is looming on the horizon,’’ said Hualda.
Go also announced that the Go For Gold cycling squad has transformed into a continental team that will allow them to compete in more challenging races and set the stage for a possible stint in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Capping Go For Gold’s impressive year-round campaign for the national athletes was the rewarding performance of the Filipino grapplers in a continental meet in Singapore, where they seized two gold medals courtesy of Jhonny Morte and Alvin Lobreguito.
Besides these victories, the Pinoy wrestlers claimed three silver medals and a pair of bronzes through the efforts of the Ronil Tubog and Cadel Evance Hualda.