AN official of Malaysia’s Olympic body criticized Philippine sports leaders for their “negative” stand on Myanmar’s hosting of this year’s Southeast Asian Games.
Olympic Council of Malaysia honorary secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi defended Myanmar’s decision to include several non-traditional events and scratch a number of Olympic and non-Olympic sports where the Philippines are traditionally strong.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman Ritchie Garcia openly expressed disappointment with the scrapping of several events, while Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco even hinted of a possible boycott in future staging of the SEA Games.
In an interview with Malaysia news agency Bernama, Datuk said the POC and PSC are only covering up the country’s “weakness” in the SEA Games with their statements as proven by the Philippines’ performance in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, where it went home empty-handed.
“They are using this excuse to cover their weakness,” Datuk told Bernama.
When pressed for comment, chairman Garcia just shrugged off the criticism.
“Who am I to argue? They will never know kung mahina o malakas (ang mga atleta). World champion mga athlete natin ah,” said the PSC chairman.
Datuk noted that it is a usual practice for the host country to include events where they have higher chances of winning just like when Thailand, Indonesia, and even the Philippines hosted the SEA Games.
The Malaysian official said the POC failed to raise the issue while agreeing to the list of events during the SEA Games Federation Council meeting last month.
Datuk even urged other SEA Games Federation members to support Myanmar’s hosting of the games.