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Silence for Filipino athletes before the SEA Games

/ 05:35 AM November 29, 2019

Zip up your kissers. Shut the f— up.

That’s what Miramon Nuevo, a sometime Tribune correspondent in Los Angeles, is urging us to do.

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Though in an almost biblical–not vulgar–tone, Nuevo urges sports chroniclers and fans to render “charitable silence against the tempting urge to criticize or give unsolicited advice” ahead of the 30th Southeast Asian Games opening Saturday at Philippine Arena in Bulacan.

“Nope this is neither (sic) cowardice or indifference, nor are we condoning any act of corruption,” Nuevo posted on Facebook. “We are offering our silence for all the Filipino athletes because they need peace … so they can completely focus on their goals to win the golds.”

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“There is a proper time for everything. Go Philippines. Stand proud! We are praying for you,” Nuevo told Facebook friends as he led the cheers for the 1,115 Filipino athletes from 56 sports seasoned in tournaments abroad who will see action in 530 events.

When the Philippines last hosted the 11-nation multi-sports event in 2005, it won the overall title. The host, without tinkering with the Games’ full Olympic sports calendar, has high hopes of repeating.

To give local athletes more shots at gold medals, arnis, the Philippines’ true national sport with 20 gold medals at stake, has been added for this year’s Games. Also included are 16 new regional games like jiujitsu, individual sports like chess and team sports like esports.

The Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc), after usurping the role of running and organizing the Games from the franchise holder, the Philippine Olympic Committee, now realizes its inexperience in running an event of such magnitude.

Its SEA Games hosting started on the wrong foot. With hundreds of millions of pesos budgeted for food and accommodations, complaints have surfaced of football teams sleeping on floors, airport delays and athletes complaining of not enough food, especially the Halal variety for competing Muslim countries.

Phisgoc chair Alan Peter Cayetano is also besieged by snafus that include hotel rooms not ready for foreign athletes and hourslong waits at the airports to shuttle them to their hotels.

Days before the Games, workers were still rushing some venues, with the first football games proceeding without electronic scoreboards and a makeshift media center in an unfinished building.

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Social media platforms are lighting up like Christmas trees, bashing Cayetano and his Phisgoc managers.

Irate netizens even compared the country’s hosting effort to the failed luxury 2017 Fyre music festival in the Bahamas where attendees experienced problems related, among others, to food and lodging.

The festival was cancelled after people who paid big bucks to see big names perform received prepackaged sandwiches and disaster tents instead of luxury villas and gourmet meals.

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TAGS: 30th Southeast Asian Games, Filipino athletes, Miramon Nuevo, SEA Games 2019
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