Why we finished 6th overall in SEA Games
By Al S. Mendoza
WHO is chiefly to blame for our worst finish in the just-ended SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur?
Our sports officials, who else?
Most of them are nothing but a bunch of NPAs for the longest time.
Of course, you already know what NPA mean: Never Performing Animals.
We sent 497 athletes to Kuala Lumpur and they brought home a measly 24 gold medals.
Good for sixth overall in the 11-nation meet.
In 2005, we won 113 gold medals and emerged overall champions.
Held every two years, we sank to fifth overall in 2007 in Bangkok with a terrible dip of 46 gold medals.
That triggered our decline in Asean sporting competition.
From 46 golds in 2007, we never got past 40 golds again in the succeeding five SEAG events.
From champion in 2005, we finished fifth in 2007, seventh in 2009, fifth 2011, sixth in 2013 and sixth again in 2015.
This year, we were sixth overall again.
But what finish can we expect from a 24-gold medal output?
Overall champion Malaysia had 145 gold medals.
That’s 121 more gold medals than our puny production.
And yet, before the Games, Malaysia had predicted to win “only” 111 gold medals.
How about us?
Be calm, OK?
Cynthia Carrion, our chief of mission in Kuala Lumpur, predicted 50 gold medals.
Not only that.
Here’s more from Carrion, the gymnastics president: “My bolder prediction is we would win 63 gold medals.”
Where she got those golds, she didn’t say.
Not contented with ramming her crystal ball into our throats, she said, by way of covering up for her monumental boo-boo: “I made those predictions only to motivate our athletes.”
As Digong would say, “My Gad!”
As if to back up his out-of-this-world choice of Carrion as chef de mission, Peping Cojuangco said: “Let’s move on to 2019.”
Peping, of course, is the most overstaying president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
By being in his post since 2004, he also becomes the No. 1 NPA in our sporting world.
If he remains POC president by 2019 when the SEA Games is held here (his third term ends in 2020), Peping the octogenarian has a chance to redeem himself
And redemption would mean our victory in the 2019 SEA Games?
Maybe. But do you know that virtually all countries that host the Games end up overall champions—the reason being that event rules allow for the host nation to select which disciplines to be contested.
That gives the host country undue advantage—but by one weird reason or two, the 11-member nations had been allowing it for decades. With eyes closed.
Let Peping and Carrion then trumpet about their yet stupid comeback strategies for 2019.
In the meantime, we lick our wounds. Again.