NARVACAN, Ilocos Sur Mayor Luis “Chavit” Singson yesterday exhorted the Philippine national shooting team to win more honors for the country and offered P250,000 for every gold medal won in the 30th Southeast Asian Games which unfolds at the Philippine Sports Arena in Bulacan this weekend.
“I wish them all the luck and pray that we will win as one,” said Singson, president of both the Philippine National Shooting Association (PNSA) and the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), after giving a pep talk to the national shooters who paid a courtesy call at his residence in Quezon City recently.
Singson, himself a respected practical shooter, said the shooting team has a good chance of winning in at least six events in the SEA Games after the team became the top Southeast Asian country that participated in the recent Asian Shooting Championships in Doha, Qatar, finishing seventh out of 14 Asian teams overall.
He said trap shooters Carlos Carag and Hagen Topacio qualified for next year’s Tokyo Olympics and other team members — trap shooter Eric Ang; rifle shooters Jayson Valdez, Amparo Acuña, Denise Basila and Sean Jayfred Ocampo; pistol shooters Shanin Lyn Gonzales, Juliette Rose Arellano, Marcelo Gonzales, and Angelo Michael Fernandez — are also serious threats to the other Southeast Asian teams.
Singson also lauded PNSA vice president Irene Garcia, coaches Julius Valdez, Fernando Mercado, Susan Aguado and armorer Mario Dasalla for their roles in gaining top honors for the country in the Asian championship.
Mercado had earlier expressed confidence in his trapshooting squad because their scores at the Asian championship were equivalent to gold medals in both the individual and team competitions in the SEA Games.
Singson said that his wards, who will be participating in the Rifle 10m, Pistol 10m, Benchrest Rifle Shooting, Precision Pistol Competition, MS and Moving Target category, will contribute to the country’s bid to win the targeted 274 gold medals in the Games, earlier set by leaders of the various national sports associations.
Singson noted that the target was more than twice the number of gold medals when the Philippines last became the Games’ overall champions in 2005 held in Manila. Host Philippines won 113 golds while Thailand garnered 26 golds and Vietnam took 71.
“It’s a tall order but I know Team Pilipinas can and will do it,” he said after personally donating P250,000 to the shooting team which will join 1,115 other Filipinos in 530 events in 56 sports during the Games.