Cojuangco: We did well in Myanmar
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - December 23, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco is not singing the blues following the country’s seventh-place finish in the 27th Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.

Cojuangco sounded cheerful when he spoke to The STAR on the phone last night just as the curtains closed on the 2013 SEA Games.

“What can I say? I’m very happy with the result. I’m very proud of our athletes,” said Cojuangco.

Seventh place is the lowest ranking for the Philippines since it started competing in the SEA Games in 1977, a notch lower than its sixth-place finish in 2011 in Indonesia.

But Cojuangco would rather look at the other side of the coin.

The Philippines, he said, sent its smallest delegation to the SEA Games in recent years and to bring home 101 medals with only 208 athletes is quite an achievement.

The Filipinos will bring home 29 gold, 34 silver and 38 bronze medals from Myanmar for a total of 101 medals. Months before the Games, officials said the Philippines can win 30 gold medals.

“If we count it very carefully, almost 70 percent of the athletes we sent to Myanmar won medals, counting those in team events in basketball, golf, track and field,” Cojuangco said.

“One-hundred medals alone is close to 50 percent of the number of athletes. So, I’m really happy with the way we prepared for it and the number of medals we won.”

Besides, the POC chief said things turned out the way he expected.

Even before the first medal was won, Cojuangco knew that Myanmar was out to make waves, scratching events in which their athletes had small chances of winning.

At the same time, Myanmar included around 60 events in traditional and indigenous sports like vovinam, kempo and chinlone, events unfamiliar to other countries.

Myanmar almost swept these events and in the end wound up second overall with 86 gold, 62 silver and 85 bronze medals behind Thailand with 107-92-81.

In the 2011 SEA Games, Myanmar only won 16 gold, 27 silver and 37 bronze medals for seventh place, just behind the Philippines with 36-56-77 behind 512 athletes.

“Besides, we were cheated in some events,” said Cojuangco of close, painful losses by Filipinos in subjective sports like boxing and muay.

“Our athletes did very well,” he said.

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