THE PHILIPPINES has yet to finish worse than sixth place in the Southeast Asian Games, but this early PSC chairman Ritchie Garcia is already bracing for an even worse showing in Myanmar based on the odd list of events calendared for the biennial event.
“With the way things are going, I think we will only place seventh or eighth,” Garcia was quoted as saying during Monday’s flag raising ceremony at the Philippine Sports Commission office.
SEA Games organizers have calendared 444 events in this year’s multi-sport showpiece, but 16 out of the 36 events where the Philippines won gold medals two years ago have been excluded from the roster.
On the other hand, medal-rich indigeous events like chinlone and tarun derajat, in which the host has a good chance of winning gold medals, were added to the list.
Local sports officials believe the move is aimed at moving past the Philippines in the medal standings.
Two years ago in Indonesia, Team Philippines finished with 36 gold medals to finish in sixth place, the lowest-ever placing for the country since it started participating in the SEA Games in 1977.
The country also finished sixth during the 2007 edition of the meet in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
But with Myanmar decreasing the events where the Philippines is particularly strong, Garcia said the team could finish with an even lower gold-medal output than in Indonesia.
Owing to this, the PSC is considering funding a token delegation to the Myanman Games, although the Philippine Olympic Committee still has the final say on the matter.