MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines lost one potential medal in swimming after Filipino-Australian Luke Michael Gebbie failed his RT-PCR test in time for his entry to Hanoi for the 31st Southeast Asian Games.
Gebbie, a Tokyo Olympian, won silver in the men’s 4100 meters freestyle relay and bronze in the 50 meters freestyle at the 2019 SEA Games.
Gebbie did not get past the qualifying heats in Tokyo, although he did set a Philippine record in the 100m freestyle with a time of 49.64 seconds. He also holds the national records in the 50m freestyle (22.57 seconds) and 50m butterfly (24.34 seconds), both of which he established in New Clark City during the country’s hosting of the regional meet in 2019.
Three other Filipino athletes in kickboxing initially tested positive for the virus but were cleared after a retest early last week.
“Too bad he tested positive,” Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said on Saturday, May 7.
“That’s one less medal – a potential gold at that – in our campaign.”
Gebbie was supposed to be one of the 16-member aquatics team to Han.
The 15-member aquatics team will start competitions on Sunday with Filipino-American Ariana Drake in the diving event.
The 17-year-old Drake entered the women’s 1-meter springboard at 9 a.m. Her other event after two days is the 3-meter springboard.
Also on Sunday, the men’s football team will face the host nation at 8 p.m., following its 4-0 blanking of Timor Leste on Friday.
The kickboxing team, which contributed three gold, two silver, and one bronze medal in 2019, will likewise kick off its bid in the biennial meet that will have its official opening ceremony on May 12.
The Philippine Sports Commission shelled out PHP 232 million to fund the participation of the 908-strong Team PH delegation, including 641 athletes battling in 38 of 40 sports.
There are no Filipino entries in petanque and Chinese/elephant chess (xiangqi).
The SEAG was supposed to be held in November and December last year but was reset due to a surge in Covid-19 cases.