This file photo shows Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian during a Senate hearing.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File
Amid SEA Games dominance, Gatchalian calls for support in sports development
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - December 11, 2019 - 1:30pm

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Win Gatchalian on Wednesday called for stakeholders of the many sports included the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games to make sure their support do not end there. 

This comes amid the conclusion of a remarkable 30th SEA Games campaign marked as much by its lackluster organization as it was for its rewarding spoils for the Philippines, which has broken its record for gold medals. 

Team Philippines also clinched the overall championship for this year's iteration of the games. The delegation's final medal haul stood at 386: 149 golds, 117 silvers and 120 bronzes.

"Nakita natin sa SEA Games kung paanong nagkaisa ang ating mga kababayan sa pagsuporta sa ating mga atleta. Ngunit hindi dapat dito sa SEA Games nagtatapos ang pagkakaisa natin para sa ating mga manlalaro," Gatchalian said in a press release.

"Sa puntong ito, mahalagang magkaisa rin tayo sa paghubog ng mga susunod pang henerasyon ng mga atletang magbibigay ng karangalan sa ating bansa."

(We've seen in the SEA Games how our people have come together and supported our athletes. But our oneness for our athletes should not end here with the SEA Games. At this point, it's important that we unite in shaping the next generations of athletes who bring glory to our country.) 

In promising what would be the biggest SEA Games yet, the host country fielded 1,115 athletes along with 753 coaches and officials in 56 sports, which also included some events that made their SEA Games debut. 

Gatchalian pointed to the historic overall performance as one indication that Philippine sports is growing. He said it was imperative for the country to sustain its momentum moving forward. 

The senator also emphasized that corporate sponsors as well as international donors should work to assist existing state efforts to institutionalize academic support for sports. 

"Marami tayong mga mahuhusay na mga manlalaro at may nakahanda na tayong mga magagandang pasilidad na magbibigay sa kanila ng world-class training," he added.

"Pagkatapos ng SEA Games, maaari nang gamitin ang mga pasilidad na ito para sa pagsasanay ng ating mga atleta."

(We have a lot of talented performers and we already have prepared for them good facilities that can give them world-class training. After the SEA Games, we need to use these facilities so our athletes can train.)

READ: Cayetano wants Philippines to invest in sports tourism

In a speech last October, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who also chairs the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee, emphasized the need for the Philippines to invest in sports tourism. 

He pointed to the Department of Budget and Management’s allocation for sports and sports tourism being cut to just P7.5 billion.

But just recently, the Office of the Ombudsman on Monday announced that it had already formed a panel to investigate the alleged corruption that went on in organizing the bi-annual meet. 

Even athletes have made their criticism for the committee known. The country's top karateka in November spoke up on social media about alleged politicking within the National Sports Association, which he claimed treated him unfairly when it decided to exclude him from its SEA Games roster.  

READ: Philippines' top karateka bares alleged politicking in SEA Games snub

Despite this, Gatchalian expressed the need for urgency in developing the country's sports as early as possible.

"Sa pagpapalakas natin ng sports development, mahalagang magkaroon tayo ng holistic approach upang maibigay natin ang pangangailangan ng ating mga atleta sa bawat hakbang," Gatchalian finished.

"Hindi lang natin susuportahan ang mga atleta natin pag sumabak na sila sa laban, sisimulan natin ang pagsuporta sa pinakamaagang pagkakataon."

(In bolstering our sports development, it's important that we have a holistic approach so we can extend to our athletes the support they need to get through each challenge. We won't just support our athletes when they compete, we should begin supporting them at the earliest opportunity.) 

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