Sports Eye

Another woeful result in 2019


by Jesus A. Garcia, Jr.

THE 29th Southeast Asia Games (SEAG) held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ended last August 31. As of this writing, August 30, our delegation only collected 24 gold medals to finish sixth overall, a far cry from the 50 gold medals predicted by our incorrigible national sports leaders. Although we maintained our sixth finish two years ago in Singapore SEAG, at least we harvested 29 gold.  It seems our sports leaders’ idea of progression is to retrogress.

Obviously, something is bad and hugely wrong with our national sports development program.

I’m not blaming our athletes for I know they really tried their utmost best to bag the gold for our country, but unfortunately their best was not good enough to lift our sports image. I put the blame on our national sports leaders. Its’ called command responsibility.

Even from just watching the matches on TV, it was clear to all that wining the gold was all that mattered. During awarding ceremonies, most (if not all) silver and bronze medalists could only manage sheepish smiles because they knew that silver and bronze medal winners don’t make any difference in standing, particularly, in SEAG, since there are only eleven countries competing, and known to be the smallest and weakest in international meet in the world. Yes, in SEAG, no athlete has ever broken an Olympic or even Asian Games record.

After topping the biennial meet in 2005 which we hosted, we began to decline in succeeding years starting in 2007 when we finished sixth overall from first, fifth in 2009, back to sixth in 2011.  Seventh in 2013 was our worst, and again back to sixth in 2015, like this year.

Observers agree that our decline in performance was not only due to our lousy national sports development program (and no sports academy) unlike our neighboring countries, but also because of continuous leadership crisis and power struggle in and among our national sports associations (NSA). Take the case now of the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association that used to dominate the SEAG competitions during the time of Eric Buhain, Akiko Thomson, Miguel Molina and especially Ryan Papa who once ranked 13th in the world in 1998 by the world swimming government body called FINA. This year our 12 swimmers were only good for two silver and five bronze. Our big thanks to Fil-American James Deiparine for at least saving the face of Philippine swimming for collecting two silver.

I honestly believe that the lack of cooperation among our national swim leaders have so affected and demoralized our swimmers, confused who to follow. Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojunagco failed to resolve the issues among them. Probably, reconciling their individual egos would be the more appropriate description. If this problem is not solved again, for sure the same thing will again happen in 2019, insulted in our own backyard because we’ll be the host in 2019.

Kaya lang manhid ang ating mga sports leaders dahil kadalasan ay pataasan ng ihi ang palaging umiiral sa kanila.

So, what else is new? Will it be another woeful result in 2019? Yes, if the core problems are not fully addressed.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And apostle Paul said, Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified.


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