MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said Sunday, October 5 that it was ‘not pleased’ with the Philippines’ performance at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, which saw the country crash and burn with a forgettable campaign at the quadrennial meet.
“Sabihin na lang po natin na hindi po tayo nalulugod doon sa naging resulta ng Asian Games,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr in a press briefing on DZRB. (Let’s just say that we’re not pleased with the results of the Asian Games.)
The Philippine contingent walked away this year with just 15 medals (1 gold, 3 silvers, 11 bronzes) which was good for only 22nd place. It was the worst finish for the Philippines at the Asiad in the last 20 years or the last 5 editions of the meet.
The 13th place finish during the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing was the Philippines’ best before the succeeding slump. They managed a 13th rank despite winning just 1 gold, 2 silvers, and 7 bronzes.
The country also failed to improve on its 2010 Asiad campaign and, in fact, finished worse this year. The Philippines bagged 16 medals (3 golds, 4 silvers, 9 bronzes) and managed 17th place in the previous Asiad edition held in Guangzhou, China.
The dismal performance proved to be an eye-opener for the government to improve its sports programs and develop further ties with the private sector for additional support.
But with limited resources that can be allotted to sports, the Philippines must choose its battles for now.
President Benigno Aquino III, according to Coloma, believes the Philippine Sports Commission must focus its resources on sports where Filipinos can truly excel in.
“Marami pa ang dapat gawin ng ating Philippine Sports Commission para mapahusay ang performance ng ating mga manlalaro,” Coloma said. (There is so much our Philippine Sports Commission must do in order to improve the performance of our athletes.)
“Ang paniwala po ng ating Pangulo diyan ay maaari naman siguro tayong mag-focus ng resources doon sa ilang sports na mayroon talagang competitive advantage ang mga Pilipino at maaaring magpakita ng kahusayan. At siguro rin ‘yung patuloy na pakikipagtulungan ng pamahalaan at ng pribadong sektor para madagdagan po ‘yung mga resources sa sports development ng ating bansa.”
(The belief of the President is that we can focus our resources on sports where we Filipinos truly have a competitive advantage and where we can showcase our abilities. And perhaps for the government to continue working hand in hand with the private sector to increase resources for sports development in the country.)
The gold medal was especially elusive to the Philippines this year. The country’s athletes fell short even in sports where gold medal chances were high, such as in boxing and basketball.
Rider Daniel Caluag was the lone bright spot as the 2012 Olympian clinched the gold medal in men’s BMX cycling.
There were also rays of hope for the future as Filipino wushu experts amassed two silver medals from Daniel Parantac and Jean Claude Saclag, as well as a bronze from Francisco Solis.
However boxing, which was expected to rake in some golds, earned the country just one silver courtesy of Charly Suarez, and 3 bronze medals from Mark Anthony Barriga, Mario Fernandez, and Wilfredo Lopez. (READ: PH boxing head infuriated by ‘hometown decisions’ at Asian Games)
At the 2010 Asiad, boxing collected a gold from Rey Saludar, a silver from Annie Albania and a bronze from Victorio Saludar.
National men’s basketball squad Gilas Pilipinas, on the other hand, suffered its worst finish in the Asian Games at 7th place. This came after an inspired showing at the FIBA World Cup in Spain and a silver medal finish at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships held in Manila.
The sport that gave the country most medals was taekwondo with 5 bronzes from Benjamin Sembrano, Samuel Morrison, Mary Pelaez, Levita Ilao, and Kristie Alorka.
The most gold medals the Philippines won in the past 24 years of the Asian Games was 4 during the 2006 edition in Doha.
“Maraming beses na tayong napaalalahanan niyan dahil matagal-tagal na rin naman ‘yung panahon na hindi tayo nakakakita ng gold medal performance,” Coloma said. “Dapat lang po sigurong paghusayan pa ang ating preparasyon at ‘yung paghahanda sa ating mga atleta.”
(So many times were we reminded of this [improving sports programs] because it’s been a while since we saw a gold medal performance. We should better our preparations and the training of our athletes.)
Looking at the country’s Southeast Asian neighbors, the Philippines finished 7th behind Thailand (12 golds, 7 silvers, 28 bronzes), Malaysia (5-14-14), Singapore (5-6-13), Indonesia (4-5-11), Myanmar (2-1-1), and Vietnam (1-10-25).
This does not bode well for the country eyeing to do better at next year’s Southeast Asian Games after coming up at 7th place (29 golds, 34 silvers, 38 bronzes) behind the same countries last year.
“Ang tama naman po sigurong pananaw diyan ay ‘yung magkaroon ng determinasyon na pagbutihin pa para sa susunod na pagkakataon ay maging kalugod-lugod naman ang performance ng ating bansa,” Coloma added. (The right mindset is to be determined to improve so that next time we can be satisfied with the results.) – Rappler.com
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