2013 SEA GAMES: UPHILL BATTLE AHEAD FOR THE PHILIPPINES
By Eddie Alinea
Sat, 26 Jan 2013
MANILA (PNA) - The Philippines, mired in an forgettable sixth place overall finish two years ago, looks to stay in that hole, or, even drop further in the standing when the 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games raises its curtains December 11-22 in Myanmar.
That is if the recommendation of the Myanmar SEA Games Organizing Committee to add four medal-rich sports to this year’s calendar while scrapping five Olympic disciplines will pass the scrutiny of the SEA Games Federation Council meeting next week in Naypyitaw in that host country.
Recommended to be included in the events to contested, according to Philippine Olympic Committee secretary general Steve Hontiveros in yesterday’s SCOOP Sa Kamayan weekly session are vovinam, tarungderajat, kempo and chin lone, which by their names alone sound foreign to the Filipinos.
Chine lone, kempo and tarungarajat are indigenous combat sports, while vovinam is likened to petanque, which for years now is being played in the biennial conclave.
“Should we fail in our attempt to scratch these event, we will be losing at least 58 gold medals of the 444 at stake in Myanmar,” Hontiveros, member of a four-man POC delegation flying to Naypyitaw tomorrow to attend the SEA Games Federation meeting scheduled January 29, cautioned during the SCOOP forum, sponsored by Powerade, AKTV and FILA.
This is because, the POC secretary general bared, vovinam will have 18 gold medals at stake, kempo 18. tarung derejat 14 anc chin lsone 8 for a stotal 58 gold medals.
“Not only that, there also a pair of proposals to increase the events to be contested in canoe-kayak which will have 16 gold medals to be disputed this year, and traditional boat race which has eight,” he said. “Both sports are expected to be dominated by athletes from the host country.”
Olympic sports recommended to be dispensed with are water polo, badminton, gymnastics, table tennis and lawn tennis. It is only in lawn tennis though where the Philippines won medals in 2011 in Jakarta with the Filipino racket wielders managing a 1-2-3 gold-silver-bronze harvest.
Also attending the January 29 SEA Games Federation meeting are POC first vice president Joey Romasanta of ksaratedo, newly-appointed chef de mission Jeff Tamayo of soft tennis and treasurer Julian Camacho of wushu.
“Kung hindi talaga natin mapipigilan ang pag dagdag nitong events na ito at tuluyang mawala ang several Olympic sports, delekado tayong mabaon sa sixth place o baka malaglag pa tayo sa seventh which will be the worst since we joined the SEA Games Federation in 1977,” Hontiveros lamented.
“Ang ibig sabihin, ipa-finalize pa lamang ang events to be contested, talo na tayo,” Samahang Basketbol Ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios, who was also at the SCOOP session along with his deputy Bernie Atienza, butted in rather jestingly.
“Kidding aside, maaring magkatotoo ‘yan unless kumilos tqayo,” Atienza, for his part, bewailed.
Even the perennial medal-rich athletics, swimming and shooting were not spared in the ‘dagdag-bawas’ (add and reduce) scheme to favor Myanmasr, which in the last edition of the Games ended up seventh overall behind the Philipines’ sixth.
All with 40 plus gold medals at stake in the previous editions, athletics now only has 34 gold medals to be contested, swimming, also 34 and shooting 10 with the skeet and track events not included.
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