DILI, 05 December 2019 (TATOLI) – Their team may be dominating the medal tally at the Southeast Asian Games, but Philippines sports fans have been flooding another country with support: last-placed Timor-Leste.
On social media, Timor-Leste has begun to trend in the host nation as Philippines fans encourage the medal-less visitors to land their first podium finish.
— Edik Dolotina (@edikdolotina) December 3, 2019
Timor-Leste has sent a 54-athlete squad — 45 men and nine women — to the Games, which wrap up on December 11.
The team had an inauspicious start to its 2019 campaign, reportedly stranded at the wrong airport on arrival in the Philippines, and then taken by officials to the wrong hotel.
— Ronald (@HashtagRonald) December 3, 2019
East Timor is the poorest Southeast Asian nation, only gaining independence in 2002.
Yet they chose to be a part of ASEAN and the SEA games. I hope you get a medal or two before going home. You guys deserve it. #TimorLeste
They won 3 in 2017.
— Jono Sanchez (@jonosuncheese) December 3, 2019
Timor Leste has been competing in the Games since 2003, and won its first and only medals at the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia: three bronze medals in taekwondo.
The local passion for Southeast Asia’s minnows didn’t extend to the soccer pitch, however; the Philippines men’s team thrashed Timor-Leste 6-1 last night to bundle them out of the competition.