The 2019 Arafura Games formally opens Friday evening with 91 athletes set to represent the Philippines in the competition.
Muay Thai athlete Philip Delarmino, silver medalist in the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, will be the flag bearer for the country in the opening ceremony to be held at the Darwin Waterfront.
The delegation arrived last Wednesday after a four-hour trip via a Philippine Airlines chartered flight from Manila as the athletes will compete in nine out of the 17 sports that will be played in the biennial competition.
The delegation was welcomed by consul general John Rivas and several Filipino working as volunteers for the Games which is making its return after an eight-year hiatus
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) national training director Marc Velasco, the deputy chef de mission of the Philippine contingent here, said the athletes are looking forward to the competition here in the Australian city located in the Northern Territory.
“The delegation is upbeat,” Velasco said. “They are very excited. I think it’s an advantage that we went on a chartered flight kasi they got to see kung sino ‘yung ibang tiga-Team Philippines. Last night, they were talking to each other which is a good sign that they will support each other.”
Velasco added the chartered flight even allowed other teams to train hours after their arrival in Darwin, Australia.
“We saw a few teams doing their training and practice. It’s good to see them that they have time to practice before the games at hindi sila ipit at pagod especially with the flight. I think we have a good chance to give a good performance in the Arafura Games,” Velasco said.
Velasco also thanked the Filipino community who this early threw their support by giving away, meals, laundry powder, and other items for the use of the entire delegation.
“The athletes feel their presence (Filipino community). They are very warm in giving support. The athletes are overwhelmed with the support na binigay dito,” Velasco said.