VETERAN shooter Nathaniel `Tac’ Padilla rues seeing his long streak of Southeast Asian Games stint come to an end in Myanmar this December following the exclusion of rapid fire pistol from the calendar of events.
The 48-year-old former world shooting champion lamented the omission of his pet event in the 27th edition of the biennial meet just so the host country can improve on its medal chances.
Padilla would have been in line for a record 18th SEA Games appearance had organizers not scratched the rapid fire pistol event from the shooting competition.
“Isa ako sa mga casualties sa Myanmar (SEA Games). Obviously, wala naman kasing magaling na Burmese sa rapid fire kaya tinanggal nila yung event,” he shared to Spin.ph.
“I am not happy that the organizers have to resort to the cancellation of Olympic events just so that they can improve their medal standings.”
The son of former two-time Olympian Tom Ong was only 13 years old when he made the Philippine delegation that competed in the SEA Games for the very first time when Kuala Lumpur staged the event in 1977.
Between then and 2011 during the SEA Games in Palembang, Indonesia, Tac won a total of five gold medals during the 1979 (Jakarta), 1983 (Singapore), 1987 (Jakarta), 1993 (Singapore), and 2009 (Laos) editions of the biennial event.
He also had a long-standing record of winning SEA Games medal of any color from 1979 until 2005.
Tac missed the region’s biggest sporting event just once in 1999 in Brunei when the pistol event was similarly cancelled by organizers.
Padilla became a cinch for the first-ever Philippine delegation to the SEA Games shortly after he crowned himself world junior champion in the Benito Juarez World Shooting Championships in Mexico at the age of 12.
Without the SEA Games in his itinerary now, Tac is busy in his role as chef de mission of the Philippine contingent to the coming Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, China.
But once he’s through with the job, the bemedalled shooter hopes to resume practicing in a sport that has been very, very good to him.