NATIONAL athletes supported by Blackwater yesterday vowed they would go all out to bring home the bacon in the 30th Southeast Asian Games opening Nov. 30 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Ilagan.
“The crowd support here could be the key,” said veteran swimmer and two-time Olympian Jasmine Alkhaldi, who is keen on finally achieving a golden breakthrough in her fourth straight SEA Games stint.
Alkhaldi was among the athletes presented by Blackwater chief and sportsman Dioceldo Sy in a press conference at the Sulo Riviera Hotel.
While she is set to compete in nine events – five individual and four relays – the former University of Hawaii mainstay said she has the best chance of bagging a mint in her forte, the freestyle.
“Most likely in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle race,” said Alkhaldi, who represented the country in the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympics.
She added that since the 30th SEA Games swimming competitions is also an Olympic qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Games “this is extra motivation for me to do well in this event.”
Among the other beneficiaries are the Gilas women’s squad, which Blackwater has supported since the 2015 Singapore SEA Games, wakeboarder Raphael Trinidad and downhill skateboarder Jaime de Lange.
Sy said supporting the outstanding athletes was for the long-term and expressed hope that some win more trophies in international play after the SEA Games.
“Maybe this time we will win the elusive gold,” said Gilas women’s head coach Pat Aquino.
“Every match is a must-win for us,” stressed the bespectacled Aquino of the one-round competition also featuring defending champion Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
Hoping to lead the way to the Promised Land is former Fil-Am and former UCLA Bruin star Kelli Wiliams.
“I’m just here to give my very best and help our team, but remember, basketball is a team sport, although I really hope we can win the gold,” said Williams, whose mom comes from Tondo, and whose Bruins reached the NCAA women’s Elite Eight in 2016.
Favorites in their respective sports, De Lange and Trinidad are likewise keen on bagging gold in their SEA Games debuts.