PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd is unhappy with the country’s poor showing at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, and wants a shift of focus to sports where Filipino athletes have the best chance of winning.
The Incheon Asiad ended on Saturday with the 150-member Philippine contingent bagging a gold medal, three silvers and 11 bronzes to finish 22nd among the 55 countries that competed.
It was the country’s worst finish in the regional sports event in 28 years.
On Sunday, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the President has called on the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to “focus resources on sports where Filipinos have a competitive advantage.”
“We are not happy with the results of the Asian Games,” he bluntly told reporters.
The PSC “has a lot of things to do to improve the performance of our athletes. The President believes that it is time we focus our resources on some sports where we have a competitive advantage and can excel,” Coloma said.
The commission must also seek the help of the private sector in developing sports, he added.
“We have been reminded a number of times already because we haven’t seen a [gold-medal] performance for a very long time,” Coloma said.
He commended BMX cyclist Daniel Patrick Caluag, who won the lone gold for the Philippines at Incheon.
“Even in boxing where we used to reap gold medals unfortunately failed, save for a silver medal. We must therefore have better preparation for our athletes,” Coloma said.
The seventh-place finish of Gilas Pilipinas, the national basketball team, should also teach everyone a lesson or two when it comes to sports, he added.
“We learned a lot from [this debacle]and we can use these lessons in the future to improve the performance in future competitions,” Coloma said.
The Philippine medal output in Incheon is way below the three golds, four silvers and nine bronzes it picked up in the 2010 Games in Guangzhou, China.
The country also bagged just one gold in the 1998 Games in Bangkok, Thailand, and the 1990 Games in Beijing, China.
In Incheon, it finished behind regional neighbors Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar, and only fared better than Cambodia and Laos.