SEND only the best athletes to the Myanmar Southeast Asian Games.
Philippine chef de mission Jeff Tamayo made the call on Tuesday in the wake of Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Ritchie Garcia's warning that the sports agency intends to fund only a "token delegation" to the biennial meet set this December.
“Token (delegation) has to be the best of the best and I want to commit to that,” said Tamayo, when he appeared in Tuesday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate.
“Token means best of the best. Kung hindi makakalusot, hindi makakalaro,” added the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) vice-president, who is also head of the Philippine Soft Tennis Federation.
amayo and three other POC officials just came back came from Myanmar over the weekend where they attended the SEA Games Federation Council meeting, which ended with 33 sports and 460 events finalized as part of the meet's calendar.
Olympic sports badminton and table tennis were late additions to the roster of sports, but still missing are events where the country's athletes are traditionally strong.
As it is, 16 of the 36 events won by the country in 2011 during the Indonesia SEA Games are not included in this year's calendar.
Tamayo said Myanmar is bent on dislodging the Philippines in the medal tally following the inclusion of several non-traditional events like chinlone, vovinam, and tarun derajat
“Countries like Myanmar, they want to win. They want to improve on their medal standings. Nakatutok sila sa atin. When they say they want to improve, they maximized the (number of sports) to their advantage,” said Tamayo, whose own sport is not even part of the SEA Games calendar.
At the moment, Tamayo preferred not to predict the country’s chances in the regional sports meet after placing sixth the last time.
“I can only answer after four to six months. Wala naman akong crystal ball. We’ll see kung nag-iimprove ang mga atleta," he said. “Ang Myanmar, nakatutok sa sports na hindi tayo nakatutok."
The chef de mission said a joint PSC-POC task force will be formed soon to start preparations for the Myanmar Games.