SEA Games: Filipinos’ performance ‘far below expectations’
PALEMBANG, Indonesia—The Filipino athletes’ performance at the 26th Southeast Asian Games here is “far below expectations.”
That was the candid admission of Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia, who before the biennial Games opened here on Nov. 11, was optimistic of a 70-gold haul.
After a week of action, however, Garcia has revised his projection.
“What we have won so far is well below our expectations,” Garcia admitted in an interview with the official SEA Games bulletin. “So we wish to at least better what we did at the 2009 SEA Games in Laos.”
That time, a much-smaller Filipino delegation competing in only 25 sports, garnered 38 gold, 35 silver and 51 bronze medals to wind up fifth overall in the 11-nation field.
Thus far, the embattled 527-strong Team Philippines is nailed at sixth place with only 15 golds to show, 16 counting the gold in women’s 9-ball where Iris Rañola and Rubilen Amit forged an all-Filipino final.
“Our predictions on paper do not match the results from the field,” said Garcia, who singled out swimming as the biggest source of disappointment.
The swimmers, who contributed four golds and six silvers in Vientianne, have yet to net a gold.
Garcia, however, remains confident that more golds will come from boxing, taekwondo, billiards, baskeball, softball, baseball and wushu.
A sprinkling of golds could also come from judo, chess, tennis, golf, bowling, rock climbing, wakeboarding and paragliding, according to Garcia, who noted that the lack of funding affected the Filipino athletes’ preparations.
In addition, Garcia said the PSC found it difficult to gather the country’s best athletes in some regions back home because of limited communication facilities.