President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino and vice president Jejomar Binay have been invited to grace Friday’s sendoff for the Filipino athletes bound for the 2011 Southeast Asian Games.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco said that Aquino and Binay have yet to confirm their attendance in the event, the last official gathering of the athletes prior to the opening of the SEA Games in Palembang and Indonesia.
Cojuangco hopes that the presence of the two highest government officials in the land will inspire the athletes as they go for gold in the November 11 to 22 meet to be held in Palembang and Jakarta.
“This may be the biggest send-off that we have with at least a thousand people attending the event,” said Cojuangco in an interview on government station DZSR.
The sendoff will be held at the Philsports Arena in Pasig where several of the 528 athletes expected to attend.
Cojuangco said that the POC has also prepared a special program for the athletes as they hope to surpass the fifth place finish of the Philippines in the 2009 Laos SEA Games.
“I’m happy that there is so much enthusiasm in the coming SEA Games in Indonesia,” said Cojuangco.
Boxer Rey Saludar will be carrying the Philippine flag during the opening rites in Palembang, a three-hour spectacle to usher in the week-long games.
Several athletes will be departing for Indonesia starting next week with the exception of the Under-23 national football team, which is already in Jakarta to play the opener on Thursday.