THIS early, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) expects nothing but an increase in the total number of gold medals in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia.
The PSC recently met with members of the Philippine Olympic Committee selection committee for the SEA Games to determine the criteria for inclusion of athletes in the biennial meet.
With the standard already in place, PSC chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez said there is no excuse for the Philippines to win less than the 29 gold medals bagged in last year’s SEA Games in Singapore.
“There has to be positive results sa Kuala Lumpur. Dapat ‘yung 29 golds, tumaas ‘to,” said Ramirez in a recent media briefing.
The criteria for selecting athletes include previous SEA Games performance, achievements in international competitions like the Olympics, world, and Asian level, and the track record of a young or high-potential athlete.
Ramirez said he doesn’t see the Philippines figuring in the top five based on the gold medal tally of Thailand (95), Singapore (84), Vietnam (73), Malaysia (62), and Indonesia (47). But with expectations that non-performing athletes will no longer be included in the SEA Games, he found no reason that the Philippines will go lower than the seventh place next year in Kuala Lumpur if the national sports associations will send their best athletes.
“There is no way for us to go number seven. If we land in number six, as long as we have more than 29 gold medals, malaking bagay na ‘yan,” said Ramirez, who also expects gold medals coming from the 36 silver and 66 bronze medalists in last year’s SEA Games.
Ramirez said the PSC is accountable to the Filipino people if the campaign of the Philippines in the SEA Games falls below target again.
“Ang taong bayan ang nagbabantay na kapag pumalpak tayo dito, hindi lang NSA [ang masisisi], kami rin kasi nagfu-fund kami. We don’t want to be part of that,” said Ramirez.
In order to achieve PSC’s goal, Ramirez said the government sports agency will only lend support to tournaments that will expose athletes to high-level competition.