“It is my pleasure to stand before you, some of the most dedicated and passionate athletes of our country today. Of the millions of Filipinos, only few have been gifted with the ability and provided with the opportunity to be part of something this big,” President Duterte told the members of the Philippine delegation during a simple ceremony in Malacañan Palace.
“How you got here is proof of your commitment and dedication to your respective sports and the sacrifices you went through just to become part of this national team. Your presence here is a testament to the indomitable Filipino spirit that each of you embodies,” he added.
The President reminded the young athletes that they do not only compete for themselves but also for the entire Filipino nation in the quadrennial meet.
“I join the Filipino people in wishing you all the best as you uphold the values of integrity, resilience, and sportsmanship in your pursuit of the gold,” he said.
“The Philippine Olympic Committee and its partners have done their part in ensuring your successful preparation for this year’s Asian Games. All I ask from you is that you do your best and that you do it fair and square,” he added.
The Chief Executive then promised that the government would continue to support the development of the country’s athletes and intensify its commitment towards sports excellence, global competitiveness, and the greater glory of the Philippines.
“Every victory you bring back home is shared by the entire nation,” he said.
A total of 272 athletes will compete in 35 different sports for this year’s Asian Games in Indonesia, which will open on August 18.
Sports officials hope to surpass this year the country’s performance during the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.