Palace unhappy with PH’s 22nd finish in Asian Games
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is not “pleased” with the Philippines’ miserable 22nd-place finish in this year’s Asian Games, saying local sports authorities “clearly” should do more to improve the country’s performance in the quadrennial event.
Without mentioning a specific sport, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma cited the need to concentrate on events where Filipino athletes had a more “competitive advantage.”
“We are not pleased with the results of the Asian Games,” he said on Sunday in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan, noting that the Philippine Sports Commission should “do more to improve the performance of our players.”
“Our President (Benigno Aquino III) believes that perhaps we could focus our resources on some sports [events] where Filipinos really have a competitive advantage and can perform well,” said Coloma.
The country’s sports program, particularly its officials, are under scrutiny once again after the Philippine delegation managed only 15 medals in the Incheon Asiad.
Other than the lone gold medal produced by Filipino-American Daniel Caluag in the BMX event, Filipino athletes were good only for three silver and 11 bronze medals.
Coloma said the latest debacle was not necessarily an “eye-opener” considering that “we have not seen a gold-medal performance for a long time.”
“We have been reminded on many occasions” on the need to improve our sports program, he said. “There are a lot of lessons [from the 2014 Asiad] that we can use to improve the performance of our athletes in the competitions to come.”
Coloma cited the case of boxing, traditionally a source of medals for the Philippines. But Charly Suarez fell short against his Mongolian foe in their men’s lightweight final, while three other boxers settled for bronze.
“We really need to prepare our athletes better,” Coloma said.
Of all the disappointments in Incheon, none was probably more heartbreaking than Gilas Pilipinas’ seventh-place finish, its worst in the Asian Games, especially after it performed way above expectations in the Fiba World Cup in Spain.
But the Asiad was a different story, one where the national team was jeered for shooting at the opponents’ basket in a desperate attempt to reach the semifinals.
Coach Chot Reyes later defended the instructions he’d given in the end game against Kazakstan, a move described as “shameful” by local basketball legend Ramon Fernandez.
“Having played for flag and country in two different generations and [with] all the other national players who brought honor and pride to our countrymen, I feel that our sacrifices, blood, sweat and tears were tarnished by one dastardly act,” he wrote in an email.
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