DESPITE the Philippines on the brink of falling to its worst finish in the Southeast Asian Games, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco said is already satisfied with the performance of the Filipino athletes in Myanmar.
As of posting time, the Philippines has won 20 golds, 24 silvers, and 28 bronzes and needs a surge of gold medals in the last three days of competition to leapfrog Singapore and avoid its worst finish ever of seventh place in the medal standings.
Still, Cojuangco said he is more concerned with the total number of medals won by the lean, 210-strong Philippine contingent than the number of gold medals.
They Said It!
“If you've just been feeding yourself with ordinary noodles, natural lang ‘yun na after awhile, kakapusin ka na." - POC president Peping Cojuangco
By that barometer, Cojuangco feels Filipino athletes have already performed well in the biennial meet.
“I don’t care about that,” said Cojuangco, referring to the gold medal output, in the weekly POC radio program on DZSR. “It’s nonsense looking at the gold medal. Silver is just as good.”
Cojuangco said what the Filipino athletes have done is already credible enough considering the conditions they have to face in Myanmar, where organizers have cut down on Olympic sports where the Philippines is traditionally strong and increased non-traditional sports where the home bets are shoo-in for golds.
The POC chief also said medals won, regardless of the mint, are proof that Filipino athletes are still competitive in the region.
“What I’ve been hoping for is happening. We are winning more medals. Looking at the results, it really confirms my thinking all along that we are loaded with silver and bronze medals, which can be changed into gold if we have a little bit more financial support,” said Cojuangco.
Cojuangco, who decided not to go to Myanmar to watch the Games, said a silver medal is already an achievement with most of the Filipino athletes relying on their natural talent alone.
“’Yung mga silver, maski papaano, if you've just been feeding yourself with ordinary noodles, natural lang ‘yun na after awhile, kakapusin ka na eh. That all along has been happening and it’s happening again," Cojuangco said.
“Our athletes are very talented but it’s the stamina. Kaya ‘yung strengthening, nakakatulong but we really have to stress nutrition,” said the POC chief.
As the SEA Games winds down, Cojuangco believes that the Philippines will put up a strong finish with the remaining athletes in taekwondo, judo, and muay competing.
“Kung hindi tayo ma-1-2-3 (madaya), talagang malaki ang chance pa natin sa ibang sports. We have done well in other sports as well,” said Cojuangco.