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Swimmer Molina will be RP flag bearer at Beijing Olympics

MANILA, Philippines – Swimmer Miguel Molina has been given the honor by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) of being the Philippines' flag bearer at the Beijing Olympics. This was revealed on Thursday by the POC after lengthy deliberations of its executive committee with the chief of mission of the Philippine Olympic team last Wednesday. The POC justified its decision by saying that Molina had given honor to the Philippines, particularly at the 24th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Thailand last year. Molina bagged three individual gold and a team relay gold medal in that biennial meet and was chosen as the meet's Best Male Athlete. The only other Filipino who got the same honor, during the 1993 SEA Games, was Eric Buhain, former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman and now Games and Amusement Board (GAB) chairman. Just recently, Molina reset his own national records at the Janet Evans International Invitational held at the University of Southern California. Molina finished second in the 200-meter breast but posted a new mark of 2:16.62 while as he posted new records too in the 200m individual medley (2:03.22) and 200m free (1:52.56). Monico Puentevella, the chief of mission and POC first vice president, said of Molina: "He was the 2007 Best Male Athlete and recently broke three national marks, and naming him as flag bearer is a reward for this young guy." So far there are 14 Filipinos who are assured of slots in the Beijing Olympics, among them swimmers James Walsh, Ryan Arabejo, Daniel Coakley, and Christel Simms; divers Sheila Mae Perez and Ryan Rexel Fabriga; taekwondo jins Ma. Antoinette Rivero and Tshomlee Go; boxer Harry Tanamor; archer Mark Javier; and shooter Eric Ang. The Philippines will also be sending two representatives to the athletics event. - GMANews.TV