Elite PH bets picked from Southeast Asian Games medalists

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Philippine's Torres Marestella bites her gold medal after winning women's long jump at the 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Palembang, South Sumatera, Indonesia, AP Photo, Achmad Ibrahim

MANILA, Philippines — The 150 elite athletes who will get priority funding from the Philippine Sports Commission will come from the roster of 169 medalists in the Indonesia Southeast Asian Games last November.

PSC chair Richie Garcia announced Thursday that, to prepare for the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar, a budget of P100 million will be set aside to improve on the country’s gold-silver-bronze haul of 36-56-77 last year.

“We’re focusing on these medal winners because they’re tested,” said Garcia. “Full support through allowances, nutrition, foreign training and [international] exposure will be provided.”

But here’s the catch: No one from the pampered lot can take a job other than being a national athlete.

“Either you serve as full-time athletes or you’re out,” said Garcia, adding that a different formula would be applied for SEA Games medal-winning teams.

Garcia also said the PSC board has already come up with a list of 10 priority sports which will be presented to the Philippine Olympic Committee next week when POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. comes back from the United States.

The PSC chief named billiards as one of the 10 favored sports but declined to reveal the rest of the lineup. Sources said boxing and taekwondo are part of the list.

“The idea is to produce world champions, Olympic medalists or even Asian champions in these sports,” said Garcia.

“We’ll submit the list to the POC for comment. It will change the entire picture. If you’re not on the list, you might as well start looking for private sponsors.”

He said the bulk of the P200 million intended for national sports association programs this year will go to the priority sports.

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  • Anonymous

    The trick here is to define what a full-time athlete is?  Many professional athletes abroad augment their income as coaches, media commentators, spokesperson/model, sports consultants, etc.  If it doesn’t affect their training and development, it should not be prohibited, especially if it also promotes sports development and awareness.

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