Numbers don’t lie

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

The Philippines finished fourth overall in the medal standings at the recently concluded Hanoi SEA Games with 52 golds, 70 silvers and 104 bronzes. The finish was the countrys best in 17 years spanning nine editions, excluding 2005 and 2019 when it hosted and took first place. Because of the prerogative nature of the SEA Games, 10 host nations have won the overall championship in the last 14 conclaves. Of the 10 host nations that clinched top honors, only Thailand went back-to-back as after staging the 2007 Games, it won in Laos in 2009. The host nations that failed to reign in that 17-year period were Brunei in 1999, Laos in 2009, Myanmar in 2013 and Singapore in 2015.

The haul of 52 golds was the Philippineslargest in 27 years, excluding the two host years. In 2005, the Philippines delivered 112 golds and in 2019, 149. So the rating of performance was commendable considering pandemic circumstances and the disqualification of the entire nine-strong bodybuilding team. It must be noted that in Hanoi, organizers delisted 15 sports, including six in the Tokyo Olympic calendar, that contributed 47 golds for the Philippines in 2019.

Of the 40 sports in Hanoi, the Philippines didnt participate in bodybuilding, xiangqi and petanque. Under football, the Philippines skipped futsal and under handball, the indoor version. The only sport where the Philippines failed to claim a single medal was badminton. Diving was an aquatics discipline where the Philippines also went zero.

The Philippines took gold in 22 sports with gymnastics leading the pack, harvesting seven from three in 2019. Athletics and dancesport brought in five each, billiards four and boxing and triathlon, three apiece. Weightlifting, kickboxing, jiu jitsu, judo, muay, taekwondo, wushu, esports and bowling had two each. Archery, basketball, fencing, pencak silat, swimming, tennis and kurash picked up one apiece. In 2019, the Philippines struck paydirt in 44 sports but that was when the host country fielded 1,115 athletes in 56 sports. In Hanoi, the delegation was 656 athletes who competed in 37 of 40 sports.

The sports where the Philippines participated in but did not collect a gold were beach handball, canoe/kayak, chess, cycling, fin swimming, football, golf, karate, rowing, sepak takraw, shooting, table tennis, vovinam, volleyball, wrestling and badminton. Of those sports, seven brought in golds in 2019golf, karate, rowing, shooting, wrestling, canoe/kayak and cycling.

The sports where the Philippines improved its gold standing from 2019 were gymnastics (three to seven) and bowling (zero to two). The sports that had the most drops were athletics (11 to five), taekwondo (eight to two), dancesport (10 to five), wushu (seven to two), boxing (seven to three), basketball (four to one) and jiu jitsu (five to two). The sports that evened out were billiards (same at four), weightlifting (two), swimming (one), pencak silat (one), tennis (one) archery (one) and kurash (one).

Seven athletes claimed multiple goldsgymnast Caloy Yulo five (floor, vault, rings, horizontal bar, all-around), gymnast Aleah Finnegan (womens team, vault), Kim Mangrobang (triathlon, duathlon), dancesportsAna Nualla and Sean Aranar (standard tango, standard Viennese waltz), billiardsRubilen Amit (9-ball, 10-ball singles) and bowler Merwin Tan (men of four, singles).


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