MANILA, Philippines – The pre-SEA Games’ chaos notwithstanding, Philippine Sports Commission chair Butch Ramirez on Thursday exhorted the Filipino athletes to win the gold medals at all costs and deliver the overall championship for flag and country.
“Go for the golds as if your life depended on them and an entire nation will be grateful,” said Ramirez, two days before the formal opening ceremonies of the 30th staging of the region’s centerpiece sporting show at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
“Let's bring good news to everyone. We need it, all Filipinos need it,” he stressed.
Ramirez's call isn't an empty plea or a mere sound bite. For the government, through the PSC, spent P1 billion on the national athletes' international training and exposure, equipment, foreign coaches, education and nutrition not only for this 12-day battle for top honors in 56 sports but also for next year’s Tokyo Olympics and Hangzhou Asian Games in China in 2022.
“The government has been very supportive of our national athletes. And it's high time that such support gets the results expected from the athletes' all-out campaign in the SEA Games. We expect nothing less than a 100 percent effort from our national athletes in front of their fellow Filipinos, who I am very sure, will come out in droves to support them,” said Ramirez.
The Philippines is fielding the largest delegation in the SEA Games led by 1,094 athletes while the coaches and officials number to 753.
The athletes will be shooting for most of the 530 golds at stake in 56 sports, spread in 44 venues spread across Metro Manila and Southern Luzon, Subic and New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
Combat sports account for most of the gold-medal projection with arnis tipped to get at least 15 golds out of 20 events. There are at least five golds each from judo, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, sambo, wrestling, according to research by sports leaders.
Outside of combat sports, dancesport is also expected to produce 10 gold medals, while athletics and gymnastics are confident of winning nine.
This is the fourth time the Philippines is hosting the event. The first one was in 1981, when it was still called the Southeast Asian Peninsular Games. Filipinos placed second during their second hosting in 1991, before finally winning the overall championship in what is now known as “The Miracle of 2005.”
That year, the Philippines asserted its supremacy in the region by harvesting 291 medals (113 golds, 84 silvers, 94 bronzes), with Thailand securing 2nd spot, and Vietnam placing 3rd.
“Nobody expected us to win in 2005, but we did,” said Ramirez, who also lauded the athletes for staying focused and ignoring the series of controversies that marred the run-up to the Games. “For nine days that year, Filipinos were united by our athletes' sporting achievement. We did it once, let's do it again, for flag and country.”
Date: November 29, 2019 | By: Dante Navarro | Newspaper: PhilStar | Source: https://www.philstar.com/sports/2019/11/28/1972597/pinoy-sea-games-athletes-urged-go-golds