The Philippines Olympic Committee (POC) today hosted a special "Walk-A-Mile" event in Manila to celebrate the nation's team heading to the Incheon 2014 Asian Games this September and October.
The 1.6-kilometre fun walk, which was co-hosted by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), Incheon 2014 and the Philippines Sports Commission (PSC), saw more than 2,000 participants - which included athletes and coaches - making their way from Malate to Luneta Park on the day that marks 101 days to the Games Opening Ceremony on September 19.
POC executive assistant Gina Calaguas said she hopes the event will boost national support for the athletes.
"In our region, regional games such as the SEA [Southeast Asian] Games are more well-known," she told ocasia.org.
"The Incheon Asian Games is only four months away and it is perfect timing for the POC to host the fun walk to promote the Incheon Asian Games.
"POC will use this event to raise the awareness among the public of our athletes and coaches who are preparing for the Games.
"This will boost their interest and confidence to improve their performance."
POC President Jose Cojuangco Jr attended the event and wished the country's athletes luck for the upcoming Games.
"Filipino athletes have done a great job in the past year by winning many medals in different international tournaments," he said.
"This year we are better prepared for the 2014 Incheon Asian Games than in the past.
"I wish all the athletes could focus on your preparation and training and give a great performance in Incheon, Korea, this year."
PSC chairman Ricardo Garcia - who will be Chef de Mission of the Philippines in Incheon, OCA technical officer Vahid Kardany, International Olympic Committee (IOC) honorary member Francisco Elizalde and Incheon 2014 media affairs chief Son Sangjin also attended the walk.
Kardany said the event was of particular significance because Manila was the birthplace of the Asian Games when it staged the first Far Eastern Championship Games in 1913.
"As the birthplace of the modern-day Asian Games, the Asian sports family has just celebrated our centennial in January 2014 in the Philippines," he explained.
"It is great to come back to Manila and witness so many athletes, coaches and sports fans joining our fun walk today for team Philippines and the Incheon Asian Games."
It was also the first OCA event for official Asian Games sponsor Pocari Sweat - which offered its sports drink to all participants - since signing a sponsorship agreement with the OCA and Incheon 2014 in January.
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