POC going all out for 2015 SEA Games
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - From its token participation in the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar, the Philippines is looking at a full contingent for next year’s SEA Games in Singapore.

“Let’s not talk about numbers here. But why limit it if we have 600 athletes that can win medals” Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco said yesterday.

“Bakit natin  babawasan? (Why should we cut down?) But if 200 of these athletes are there for a picnic, then why send them? No numbers tayo,” he told the weekly “POC Hour” radio program.

Julian Camacho of wushu, the chef-de-mission of the Philippine contingent to the next SEA Games, said he’s looking at 500 athletes to make up the team.

Camacho said there are 36 sports and 402 events to be disputed in Singapore in June, and that the marching orders from the POC is to improve on the 2013 finish.

In Myanmar, the Philippines sent only around 200 athletes, a “token” participation because it was not in favor of the calendar of events lined up by the host country.

Filipino sports officials were up in arms that 16 of the 36 events where the Philippines won medals in the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia were not played in Myanmar.

The Philippines won 29 gold, 34 silver and 38 bronze medals and fell to seventh place behind Thailand (107-94-81), Myanmar (86-62-85), Vietnam (74-85-86), Indonesia (65-84-111), Malaysia (43-38-77) and Singapore (34-29-45).

“The order is for us to improve on our ranking. I think we can achieve it,” said Camacho.

Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia said a couple of weeks ago that the Philippines can aim for No. 3 or No. 4 overall in Singapore.

But POC vice president Jose Romasanta also said yesterday it may be too early to think of anything.

“Right now we cannot project anything because we’re still trying to find out what we have,” said Romasanta, adding that the priority at this time is to form the team and get them ready.

Cojuangco said he wants to have the athletes identified before the end of November so they can start training under their respective quarters at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, Philsports and Baguio.

“We want them quartered for at least two weeks before the Christmas holidays. That way, they can get the feel of it, and they return to training on the first week of January,” he added.

Romasanta assured the different NSAs (national sports associations) that the final approval of the athletes to be sent to Singapore and funded by the PSC will be “facts-based and records-based.”

“There’s no specific criteria yet except for the fact that they should be deserving to go. They must prove their competitiveness,” said Romasanta.

Cojuangco said the Philippines must improve on its previous showing, and for his parting shot he said it should be better if the country aims for number one.

“That’s what’s in my mind. We’ve done it before (in 2005 in Manila),” he said.


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