UNLESS the Filipino athletes come up with extraordinary performances, the country is doomed to finishing its worst ever of seventh overall in the Myanmar (Burma) Southeast Asian Games this December.
“We’ll most likely end up No. 7 in the SEA Games,” said Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia yesterday. “But to be able to overcome that, we have to perform exceptionally well in all sports that we will compete in.”
The Philippines placed sixth overall in 2011 in Indonesia with Burma seventh among 11 countries. This time, Burma removed several sports favorable to Filipino athletes and added 40 events where Burmese bets have strong chances of winning.
“We have to win more (gold medals) to maintain our position,” said Garcia, who has conceded the top five overall placing to Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
The Philippines garnered 36 gold, 56 silver and 77 bronze medals in 2011 and Garcia pointed out that the country should at least equal these figures in the Dec. 11-22 meet to have a fighting chance.
“Aside from the 14 gold medals that we lost, there are sports in the calendar that we cannot cover,” said Garcia, explaining that the 14 golds came from sports removed by Burma. Out of 33 sports lined up in this year’s games, the Philippines is competitive only in 28 sports. Indigenous Burmese disciplines vovinam, chinlone and kenpo are virtually unknown to Filipinos.