PH Asiad performance still lackluster?
By Jesus A. Garcia, Jr.
THE talk of the town in sports today is the 2018 Asian Games currently being held in the cities of Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia. Six days had already passed and our Philippine squad only has one gold and five bronze medals to show, far from our performance four years ago in Incheon, South Korea where we clinched one gold, three silver and 11 bronze medals. After that remarkable performance of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz to win the gold in the 53 kg division, our other nationals in different disciplines continued to fall by the side to the dismay of our national sports leaders, including this writer.
As of this writing (August 23), we are in 19th place in medal ranking. Like in the past, powerhouses China, Japan, and Korea occupied the top three positions. Our traditional rivals in Southeast Asian Games – Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia – are beating us badly landing fourth, eight and 14th, respectively. That little city-state Macau is ahead of us by a rank, in 15th place. Two other city-states Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau are now ahead of us. In Olympic and in Asian Games, gold medal counts the most.
Nine days more to go and hopefully our remaining contestants will eventually shine for a gold to better our embarrassing 22nd position in 2014 Incheon Games. Like in the past Asiads, our strong medal hope for gold is boxing, golf, chess, gymnastic, billiards (and could be in basketball too, this time, due to our sterling performance against China last August 21, losing by hairline, 80-82). But remember, our Gilas Pilipinas’ third game will be against defending champion South Korea on August 27. Admittedly, carving them out will be a monumental task. The Koreans are not so tall, like us, unlike the Chinese five which had the height factor to beat our Gilas. So I guess it’ll still be an even match this time unlike in the 2014 Asiad when the Koreans defeated us convincingly that eventually pushed us to a humiliating seventh place finish. That was our worst performance in Asian Games caging which we used to dominate in 1951, 1954, 1958 and the last time in 1962, also held in Jakarta. But with the presence of NBA Cavs Fil-Am player Jordan Clarkson boosting up our Gilas squad and the genius tactician Yeng Guiao, I do believe that an upset is not far from happening.
We finished 22nd overall four years ago in Incheon, and if we end up hauling even lesser medals this time than in 2014, it can no longer be denied that there’s something seriously wrong with our national sports development. It means we’ve not been only able to move on to improve but moved from bad to worse. I can only blame politics for this. For decades now, our sports development has always been tainted with politics, a situation we never learned to check. This is the consensus among our national athletes, then and now. They are bitter. Ask them. But don’t expect them to expose the irregularities of our sports leaders to the media lest that they booted out from the national team.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: For thus says the Lord: “The whole land shall be desolate; yet I will not make a full end. For this shall I the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black, because I have spoken, I have purposed and will not relent, nor will I turn back from it. JEREMIAH 4: 27, 28.
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