The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) sets its sights on the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games—aiming to surpass the country’s forgettable seventh place finish in the 2013 edition held in Myanmar.
After the disappointing campaign in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, PSC Chairman Ricardo Garcia said it’s time to move forward and prepare the athletes for the Singapore SEA Games which will be held in June.
“In this SEA Games we have to focus and really push for a better performance of at least number three or number four. It can’t be sixth or seventh,” said Garcia, the delegation’s Chief of Mission in Incheon Games.
In the 2013 SEA Games, the Philippines earned 29 golds, 34 silvers and 38 bronzes for seventh behind Thailand (107-94-81), host Myanmar (86-62-85), Vietnam (74-85-86), Indonesia (65-84-111), Malaysia (43-38-77) and Singapore (34-29-45).
The Philippines won its first-ever overall title in the 2005 edition held in Manila with a 112-gold medal haul but faltered in the next editions, ending up sixth in 2007 Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand (41-91-96), fifth in 2009 Vientiane, Laos (38-35-51) and sixth in 2011 Palembang, Indonesia (36-56-77).
“We will prioritize the sports where we can win. Two years ago we came up with 10 priority sports but we have dropped a few [swimming and weightlifting]because they did not perform in the last SEA Games,” said Garcia.
More than 100 athletes are in priority list of the PSC. They are getting as much as P40,000 a month but Garcia warned that “if they don’t perform in Singapore, they are bound to lose the status. It’s now up to them to perform.”
In Incheon, the Philippine delegation composed of some 150 athletes, went home with one gold courtesy of BMX rider Daniel Caluag.
Garcia said “the athletes are not to blame. But I share the sentiment of Malacañang. I’m sure they are disappointed and we are all disappointed. We will continue with the prioritization program that was personally brought up by the President.”
The PSC chief wants the national sports associations to review their programs “particularly when it comes to coaching” with only eight months left before the Singapore SEA Games.