WHETHER it’s a token Philippine delegation or not, San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada is urging all athletes who will be named as part of the national contingent for the Myanmar Southeast Asian Games to go all-out in both their training and participation.
Ejercito said it’s the responsibility of athletes to focus on training and do their best for flag and country notwithstanding the dilemma facing local sports officials on whether to send a full or small delegation to the December 11 to 21 multi-sports event.
“That’s the best thing they can do, to prepare hard,” said Ejercito Estrada. “So when the competition starts, they can give it their best, and they have to go all-out for flag and country no matter the situation. Their countrymen will be fully supportive of them in their quest for the gold.”
Recently, Ejercito Estrada, a senatorial candidate for United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) suggested that officials of both Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) should consider sending a ‘lean but mean’ squad to the biennial meet set December 11 to 22, 2013.
“We should focus on training athletes that can win the gold in the SEA Games,” said the 43-year-old legislator, a member of the Youth and Sports committee at the House of Representative.
The various National Sports Associations (NSAs) will recommend their respective athletes for the SEA Games, although the approval will come from the POC, while the PSC will finance the training and preparation of the athletes.
There will be 33 events in the Myanmar SEA Games, but of these sports disciplines, the host nation removed from the list several Olympic sports, including water polo, badminton, gymnastics, table tennis, and lawn tennis – all of which Filipino athletes are medal contenders.
Myanmar has added non-traditional events such as vovinam, tarungderajat, kempo, and chin lone which favors the host country.
In the previous SEA Games in Indonesia two years ago, the Philippine team placed sixth overall, ahead of Myanmar. The POC, headed by its president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, and the PSC, chaired by Ritchie Garcia, are targeting to improve the finish – possibly third or fourth.
Ejercito Estrada believes the POC's goal is achievable.
“With proper training, I firmly believe our athletes can do that,” said Ejercito Estrada, son of former President Joseph Estrada.