BEFORE TOURNEY’S FORMAL START
National team mainstay Charmaine Dolar and Joseph Briones had flying starts to pluck the first two gold medals in the gymnastics competition of the POC-PSC Philippine National Games Monday at the GAP gym in Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
Dolar tallied a commanding 21.25 points to win the gold medal in the women’s aerobics gymnastics event, leaving national teammate Lynette Anne Moreno settling for a runner-up finish.
Rizal bet Rochelyn Cerda captured the bronze medal with 16.7 points in this annual competition backed by Ayala Corp., Summit Mineral Water, Bala Energy Drink, Milo and LBC.
“Although kulang sa ensayo, I’m still glad that I performed enough to win,” said Dolar, a fourth-year BS Education student from UE who competed in last year’s World Aerobics Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Briones, on the other hand, shared an identical 16.85 points with Francis Rivera.
He, however, took home the gold medal for performing a better execution of his routine.
“I was not expecting this, but I’m happy,” said Briones, who coaches the Letran cheering team.
Awarding the medals and trophies were PSC commissioner Akiko Thomson-Guevarra, Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion and secretary general Bettina Pou.
PNG gymnastics action resumed late afternoon yesterday with the all-around event in women’s rhythmic gymnastics with the collated scores in the hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon contests to determine the overall champion.
Scheduled this afternoon are the individual competitions for the hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon equipment.
Hostilities take a break tomorrow before resuming with the men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics meet on Friday and Saturday, winding up with the highly-anticipated cheerleading contests on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
The PNG will formally open on Friday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) will require the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines field in its athletes in the Philippine National Games (PNG) on Friday, denying the Abap's request for exemption in the competitions.
PSC chairman Ritchie Garcia yesterday said all members of the national team are required to see action in the upcoming PNG since it serves as the national tryouts for national athletes to prove they deserve government support.
Garcia said the only exception are those who are either set to compete abroad or still nursing an injuries. But before they would be given the green light to skip, hurting athletes will have to justify their injuries and should seek medical certificates from the Philippine Center for Sports Medicine.
Among the 41 participating NSAs, only the national athletes from wushu are set to fly to China for an international tournament.
"The attendance in this event applies to all sports, either subjective sports or contact sports," Garcia said. "All members of the national team should show up. If they cannot win here, then they must look for other jobs. They have no business being part of the national team."
Last week, Abap executive director Ed Picson warned pitting national boxers against aspiring pugs. He said the Nationals are in top shape and ranging them against new boxers would result in injuries to the newbies.
But Garcia said the challenge doesn't lie on the national boxers, but on how Abap would run the event.
"Abap should come up with able referees to ensure the safety of all participants," he said. "If something unfortunate comes up, then it's not our fault. All technical officials would be coming from them (Abap), so it would be their responsibility to keep everybody safe."
Aside from boxing, other sports on tap are centerpiece athletics and swimming as well as other medal-rich sports like gymnastics, billiards, arnis, taekwondo, wrestling, judo, muay thai, dancesport and shooting.
Basketball would not be played after Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas begged off due to its heavy schedule.
"We want all members of the national team to win, especially those coming from priority sports. Because if they lose, we have no choice but to adjust their allowance. There's no favoritism here. They all have to go out there and defend their slot in the national team program."
Due to the huge expenses, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) scratched the idea of using a chartered flight in transporting the national contingent to the 27th Southeast Asian Games.
According to PSC chairman Ritchie Garcia, traveling to Myanmar for the biennial meet in a chartered flight will be more expensive and impractical since the national delegation will be brought to their respective competition venues by batches.
He explained that the SEA Games will have three venues with the main hub being set up in the new Burmese capital of Naypyidaw. The main bulk leaves before the opening ceremony on Dec. 11 — and should the PSC hire an aircraft to bring the athletes, coaches and other officials there, the chartered plane will have to fly back to Manila to pick up the next batch without any passenger.
The PSC chief stressed that although it is quite more difficult with the travel time obviously a little longer, flying via a commercial flight is the most logical option for both the PSC and the Philippine Olympic Committee.
"Transporting our contingent via a chartered flight will be very impractical for the simple reason that athletes, coaches and delegation officials have to be sent to the sites of the competition on a staggered basis," Garcia said.
"The bulk of our delegation leaves before the opening ceremony. After that, babalik ang eroplano na walang laman pero may bayad. And it's something we don't want to happen."
The PSC allotted only P30 million for the actual participation of Team Philippines to the SEA Games. But if somebody presses them to spend for the chartered flight — just what they did in 2009 when the national contingent travelled to the SEA Games in Laos — Garcia said their entire budget will be spent on airfare alone.
Actually, things are not rosy for the Filipinos in the upcoming Games.
Aside from marching with a limited budget, Team Philippines also has to contend with the host country that is ice-cold on the Filipinos attempt to duplicate — or even surpass — their sixth place finish in the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia.
The PSC boss reiterated that the surefire solution to work around this problem is to send a token delegatioN — or a team of around 50 athletes — to send a strong message to the organizers that Philippines is not happy with the way it was treated, especially in the selection of events.
"No, I'm not advocating a boycott as earlier reported," Garcia said. "What I was saying is that we have to send a small delegation na may chance na manalo ng medalya para sa bansa kesa sa malaking delegation na mahihirapan naman manalo.”
"Masyado naman yata tayong inapi, both by the host country and the SEA Games Federation."
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