Tamayo: All’s not lost in SEAG
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - March 10, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The chef-de-mission of the Philippine delegation to the 27th SEA Games in Myanmar in December is not giving up on the country’s chances for a decent finish in the biennial event.

“All is not lost yet for us,” Jeff Tamayo, the chef-de-mission, told the Scoop sa Kamayan forum the other day.

Tamayo, president of the Philippine Soft Tennis Association and second vice president of the Philippine Olympic Committee, urged the Filipino athletes to give their best in Myanmar.

He said the decision of the Myanmar organizers to include as many as 60 events that are unfamiliar to most nations is not enough reason for Filipinos to give up the fight.

Myanmar also decided to scratch 16 of the 36 events the Philippines ruled in the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia as well as Olympic sports like gymnastics and lawn tennis.

Tamayo said representatives of the different national sports associations (NSAs) recently met, and the consensus now is to send the country’s finest athletes to Myanmar.

Top Filipino sports officials reacted strongly to Myanmar’s bid to manipulate the calendar of events by saying there’s no point in sending a full delegation.

Some even suggested that the Philippines boycott the Myanmar SEA Games.

“We don’t believe in token representation. The connotation is bad. It’s as if we’re only sending a delegation for the sake of sending one with no hope of performing well,” said Tamayo.

The POC official said the Philippines should still send its best athletes in the sports it would choose to participate in.

It may not be as big as the Philippine delegation of 512 athletes to the 2011 SEA Games but by sending the best athletes in certain sports it will not be taken as a token delegation.

Tamayo said given the breaks, the Philippines can still match or surpass the 2011 haul of 36 gold, 56 silver and 77 bronze medals, and see where it takes the country in the final standings. 

In 2011, the Philippines landed in sixth place and is now in danger of even finishing seventh in Myanmar.

Tamayo said Filipino athletes should step up in training. With nine months to the Games, he said the plan is to send the athletes out on international competitions.

“We are challenging our athletes to raise the level of their skill to the next bracket which is the Asian level. All is not lost yet for us to fashion out a decent and credible finish despite losing medals we expect to win,” he said.

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