NO BETTER THAN 5TH PLACE?
The country’s top sports officials yesterday painted a gloomy picture of the country’s participation in the 29th Southeast Asian Games next year in Kuala Lumpur.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William “Butch” Ramirez and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) selection committee chairman Tom Carrasco admitted that the rest of the region has drastically improved.
The Philippines, they said, should plot a very strict criteria in selecting the athletes to the biennial games.
Those who emerged with a medal in the previous SEA Games in Singapore will be considered, as well as those who marks in major international tournaments like the Olympics, World Championships, Asian Games, Asian Beach Games and other regional tournaments.
Developing sports like netball, volleyball, bowling and football would be given the green light to join provided that they can justify their inclusion in the national delegation.
The SEA Games selection committee is looking at sending 650 athletes and coaches in the prestigious conclave set from Aug. 19 to 31.
“We are dead serious in our criteria,” said Ramirez following the second meeting of the joint SEA Games Task Force yesterday.
“We might sound arrogant to national sports associations, but we will be following the criteria for us to be competitive as what we wanted to be. Right now, we will be pressed hard, but the reality is that we could only reach as high as fifth place.”
Carrasco said host Malaysia would never allow itself to be dominated in its turf while Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam have all maintained their powerhouse status. Of course, tiny Singapore still remains a force.
“It’s always hard to beat these countries,” said Carrasco, the president of Triathlon Association of the Philippines that won two gold medals in the previous SEA Games.
Also to be considered are: young and potential athletes with definite track record, measurable qualifying level and team events which will be in review on case to case basis.
“We will talk to the NSAs on the justification if the athletes deserve to be sent,” Ramirez said. “Hindi na pwede yung lalaban ka lamang just to fulfill the international commitment to the international federation. Hindi ito paramihan ng atleta; paramihan ito ng medalya.”