THE Philippines should have its own training center first before entertaining hopes of a lofty finish in the Southeast Asian Games, according to Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Ritchie Garcia.
Amid criticism from the worst finish by a Filipino contingent in the recently-concluded 27th edition of the biennial meet in Myanmar, Garcia reiterated his call to have a brand-new training facility here lest we continue seeing our athletes struggle in international meets.
The Philippines bagged a total of 29 gold medals and placed seventh in the Myanmar SEA Games, marking the worst finish by the country since it started participating in the regional meet in 1977.
“Once we get a training center, we can start looking at number one, number two,” Garcia said. "Aabot lang tayo ng pang-pito or pang-walo unless something is to be done sa mga athletes natin.”
Garcia, however, said the PSC has not been remiss in its goal of building a new training facility in lieu of the decrepit Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
“We have been fighting for a better training center, better facilities, and quarters for our athletes. Until this thing is done, dito lang tayo sa Manila na mausok, binabaha kapag umuulan. How can we expect our athletes to perform under these circumstances?” said the PSC chairman.
Proposals have been made to have a training center either at Clark Field, Tanay, or the Hacienda Luisita grounds owned by the family of Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, but such plans have yet to come in fruition.
“We have been making strong representations na maibigay ang lugar ng training center para sa mga atleta natin,” Garcia said.