THE Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has left no stone unturned making sure that the national athletes will be ready to deliver when the country hosts the 30th Southeast Asian Games from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
“The heart and soul of this SEA Games are the athletes and we are taking care of them. We have not been remiss,” said Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Amelie Hotel Manila.
The sports official from Davao City also serves as chef de mission of Team Philippines, which is eyeing to duplicate the “Miracle of 2005” when the country won the SEAG overall title as host.
From a regular annual budget of P300 million, the PSC, following a directive from Malacanang, has spent thrice as much so far this year making sure the athletes are well-trained and highly-motivated.
“We went beyond that (old budget). As of September this year, the PSC has spent P1 billion for our athletes,” said Ramirez, the bulk of which is being spent on foreign exposure and equipment.
The PSC also increased the daily and meal allowances of the athletes (651 male and 462 female) and coaches (346), and worked on upgrading their living quarters and training facilities.
The Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, which was built in 1934, is undergoing a major facelift, and the national athletes stand to benefit from this.
The Philsports Arena in Pasig and Teachers’ Camp in Baguio City, two other facilities that cater to the athletes, are also undergoing major repairs.
But Ramirez feels that it’s the foreign exposure that will bring out the best in the athletes when the country hosts the SEA Games for the fourth time in history after 1981, 1991 and 2005.
“Because of that exposure, malakas ang loob ko (I am confident). We can deliver a surprise in the SEA Games,” said Ramirez during the forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Braska Restaurant, Amelie Hotel and PAGCOR.
"And it’s very inspiring to see the results. We have found new heroes,” said the PSC chief, referring to gymnast Caloy Yulo, female boxer Nesthy Petecio and pole vaulter EJ Obiena.
“With all our investment, I am confident that our athletes will deliver in this SEA Games,” added Ramirez.