THE SIZE of the Philippine delegation to the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar is the main responsibility of the country’s chief of mission.
Philippine Olympic Committee first vice president Joey Romasanta yesterday said Jeff Tamayo, the soft tennis president and POC second VP who was appointed chef de mission, has been tasked to come up with a formula to determine the number of Filipino athletes to the biennial meet.
“We haven’t made a decision yet (on the size of the national delegation),” said Romasanta. “It’s really up to the chef de mission to determine the criteria and number before recommending them to the POC.”
The question of either sending a lean or huge contingent this December cropped up when Myanmar approved 58 events in four seldom-disputed sports supposedly to boost its overall standing in the Games.
Though the POC has the final say on the delegation size, Tamayo’s word will be as crucial in the country’s bid to improve its finish in the 11-nation meet.
The Philippines placed sixth overall in the 2011 SEA Games held in Indonesia with 36 gold medals followed by Myanmar, which brought home 16 golds.
Sports officials fear that the 58 events handpicked by Myanmar, as well as the removal of some sports considered as medal sources of the Philippines could push the Filipinos further down the standings.
There is talk in POC circles that the country might decide to send only a token delegation and compete only in Olympic events.
“Let’s not worry about the disadvantage too much,” said Romasanta. “Let’s think of a way to turn things around and use them to our advantage.”
Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia, however, is amenable to the idea of a reduced SEA Games participation.
He said the savings from sending a lean delegation can be diverted to the Asian Games and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.