PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee president Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco wants only the “sure gold medal winners” lined up for the Myanmar Southeast Asian Games, but how the team members will be selected using this criteria is still to be determined.
The Philippines won 36 gold medals in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games but only 20 of those events were included in the 2013 calendar. Myanmar has set thirty-three sports and 460 events for the 27th SEA Games.
“If we are going to participate, ‘yun lang sure gold medal winners,” said Cojuangco after Wednesday’s POC general assembly at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.
Cojuangco gave his take on the issue amid calls from other officials that only a “token delegation” should be sent to the Myanmar Games since a lot of the events that Filipinos traditionally dominate have been scratched.
Several non-traditional sports like chinlone, vovinam, kempo, and tarun derajat are included this year, while several Olympic sports such as tennis and gymnastics were dropped, a move that didn’t sit well with Cojuangco.
“Personally, if the SEA Games will continue in this manner, I’m not in favor anymore of this system of pouring in games only known by the country who is hosting,” said Cojuangco, who slammed organizers for not fulfilling their promise of adding more Olympic sports.
“The various times that I’ve attended the SEA Games Federation Council meeting, they have always said that we have to do something every Olympics because less and less Southeast Asian Olympians are winning gold medals. But this contradicts everything with the way things are going,” said Cojuangco.
The POC has yet to make a collective stand on the current SEA Games situation as the general assembly was obviously divided on whether to send a token or full delegation this year.
Chess officials have earlier said they might just skip the altogether meet because only four of the 18 events to be played in Myanmar are familiar to Filipino players.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia had earlier warned that the country is in danger of finishing a worst-ever seventh or eighth owing to the situation in Myanmar.