Bachmann vows more support for national athletes
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA—For nearly two weeks, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chair Richard Bachmann celebrated the victories and feats of Filipino athletes and shared their agony in defeat in the just-concluded 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
By witnessing these athletes from a variety of sports in action first-hand, Bachmann is convinced that support from the government remains a vital component.
“We reaffirm our support to our national athletes,’’ said Bachmann, who witnessed his first event with national athletes as PSC chair.
The PSC chief, joined by PSC Commissioner Bong Coo, Walter Torres and Fritz Gaston for the duration of the two-week regional sports spectacle, got even more motivated after Team Philippines surpassed its gold-medal count at the Hanoi, Vietnam, version of the 11-nation meet last year.
Filipino athletes from 38 sports amassed 58 gold medals, 85 silvers and 117 bronzes, which was good enough for fifth overall but was still a better output than the country’s 52-gold haul in Vietnam.
“The PSC will continue to work as hard as you train,’’ Bachmann told the athletes prior to the extravagant closing ceremony on Wednesday at the Morodok Techo National Stadium here.
The biggest collection came from arnis and taekwondo with six golds each while boxing, gymnastics, obstacle racing, wrestling and athletics supplied four gold medals apiece.
Athletes from jiu jitsu, kickboxing and soft tennis chipped in three golds each.
Gymnast Carlos Yulo remained the top gold producer for the second SEA Games in a row with two gold medals in the men’s artistic all-around and parallel bars while two-time Olympian swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi had a total of six medals—three silvers and three bronzes.
“I am proud of our athletes. I saw how they worked hard with my own eyes while preparing for the Games and when they did battle in Cambodia,’’ said Bachmann.
Bachmann arrived at the Cambodian capital three days before the opening ceremony and stayed to witness the performances of Filipino athletes in these Games.
“Each moment our flag was raised in honor of a win was a proud moment for every Filipino,’’ said Bachmann.
‘There will be changes’
Meanwhile, Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino said the composition of the delegation to the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on Sept. 23 to Oct. 8 would hinge on the gold-medal tally of the just-concluded SEA Games.
“There will be changes when we choose the athletes who will represent us in the Asian Games,’’ said Tolentino.
“We will prioritize the gold medalists and probably look at the silver performers, too,’’ added Tolentino.
Prior to his trip to this bustling Cambodian capital, Tolentino filled a big white board back home with medal projections across all participating sports.
Although most of his predictions materialized, some sports in Tolentino’s forecast came short due to whimsical decisions in subjective sports and injuries or, at worst, simply because of nonperformance.
“Most of my predictions hit their mark. But for some NSAs (national sports associations), it didn’t,’’ said Tolentino.
According to Tolentino, nonperforming NSAs could be allowed to try their luck in the Asian Games.
“For those who still want to join, we will not endorse them to the PSC and they have to pay for their own,’’ said Tolentino.
“There are those who will go home with zero golds and almost zero (medals). If you based it on the grades in a report card, these NSAs got NI (needs improvement),’’ added Tolentino.
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