20-plus athletes axed from PSC priority program

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AT LEAST 20 athletes have been removed from the 160-athlete priority list of the Philippine Sports Commission for various reasons although they are still assured of slots in the national delegation to the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Burma (Myanmar) this December for winning Games medals two years ago.

The athletes’ failure to compete in the last Philippine National Games and to prove themselves were the major reasons why their status was downgraded and their allowances cut in half, according to PSC chair Richie Garcia.

“We made it clear to everyone that if they didn’t participate in the PNG, they would suffer the consequences,” said Garcia. “Over 20 athletes could be dropped from the priority program. They will now receive their old allowances before the program took off.”

Under the priority program, gold medalists in the 2011 SEA Games receive a monthly allowance of P40,000 each. Nonpriority athletes receive a maximum of P20,000.

Garcia said three cyclists were removed from the priority program after they snubbed the road race event of the PNG.

“Nonparticipation in the PNG is a serious offense for athletes in the program,” said Garcia. “There’s also no reason for these athletes to lose in the PNG.”

A reliable source said long jump queen Marestella Torres also resigned from the national team after the two-time Olympian became pregnant.

PSC commissioner Jolly Gomez said he would discuss the list with the athletes’ national sports associations before releasing it to the media.

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