SINGAPORE – Although the country fell well below targets in the 28th Southeast Asian Games, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) said it is satisfied with the country's performance in this event that comes to a close Tuesday.
POC first vice president Joey Romasanta said the Olympic body is pleased with a performance that is on course to match the country's 29-gold haul in Myanmar two years ago but is far from the 40-60 projections of sports officials.
As things stand, the Philippines is set to finish in sixth place by the end of the event, one rank higher than its seventh placing in 2013 – the country’s worst finish in the medal tally since joining the SEA Games in 1977.
Romasanta made it clear improving on its seventh place finish was the country’s main target.
“Ang amin naman talaga is to improve on our previous ranking and mukhang doon naman tayo papunta,” said the former Project Gintong Alay chief.
Romasanta also noted that the bulk of the gold medal harvest of the Filipinos came from Olympic sports, which is of much importance since over the past few years, the SEA Games had been giving the host country the prerogative to add indigenous sports to the calendar.
Notable gold medals came from athletics courtesy of Eric Cray and Kayla Richardson, who both ruled the 100m run for the country’s first ever sweep of athletics’ centerpiece event in the SEA Games.
“What is noticeable right now is that, except for wushu, all the medals we gained were from Olympic sports. Malaking bagay ‘yun. Even Southeast Asia is concerned about the declining medals in Olympic sports because napupunta sa mga indigenous or cultural sports,” said Romasanta.