POC chief wants to put premium on build-up for 2017 SEA Games
Stepping in prepared long before the next Southeast Asian Games now comes as a top priority for the Philippine Olympic Committee.
POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr. said Thursday that the build-up for the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Games should also get the attention in the same magnitude of the qualifying tournaments for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
“From what we had learned in the last SEA Games, we have to study and plot our preparation early,’’ said Cojuangco.
The POC chief probably took the cue from Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico, who already presented the proposed budget for athletics two years before the regional sportsfest.
Juico is looking beyond the 2016 Olympics and has also set up programs for the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang and 2019 Manila SEAG before the culmination in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Cojuangco sees preparation as the key to success for the country to improve its performance after the Philippines landed sixth overall in the recent Singapore Games among 11 countries.
But there are several things that need to be addressed quickly to ensure progress, like building a training center for instance.
“Give us a training center. The best approach is for our athletes to stay in the training center right after the (Singapore) SEA Games,’’ said Cojuangco.
The Philippine Sports Commission is still negotiating with the Clark International Airport Corporation in putting up a sports complex in a 50-hectare property inside the Clark field in Pampanga.
“If we have a training center, things will be different. Right now, we have two places that are not conducive,’’ said Cojuangco, referring to the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila and Philsports in Pasig City.
“It’s different if everything is centralized.”
POC secretary general Steve Hontiveros said Kuala Lumpur organizers have started to put the pieces of their hosting job together and will call a meeting among the 11 member-countries early January to push the pace.