Team PH to surprise in 2019 SEA Games, says Ramirez

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman and Team Philippines' chef de mission to the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games believes that the delegation can deliver a surprise as the country hosts the regional biennial meet. 

“Because of [international] exposure, I am confident. We can deliver a surprise in the SEA Games,” said Ramirez in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) forum on Tuesday, October 22, at the Amelie Hotel. 

Raising Ramirez' hopes were the recent golden world championship performances of Carlos Yulo and boxer Nesthy Petecio. On top of that, Yulo and pole vaulter EJ Obiena clinched 2020 Tokyo Olympic berths in their respective sports. 

"And it’s very inspiring to see the results. We have found new heroes," said the PSC chief, referring to the celebrated trio. 

"With all our investment, I am confident that our athletes will deliver in this SEA Games."

The PSC is determined to leave no stone unturned as it is eyeing to duplicate the "Miracle of 2005" when the country won the SEA Games overall title as host.

From a regular annual budget of P300 million, the PSC, following the 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 who revealed that 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 whether or not work is done for the coming SEA Games, the national athletes will benefit from this. (READ: 2019 SEA Games: Rizal Memorial, Philsports to finish renovations in October)

The Philsports Arena in Pasig and Teachers’ Camp in Baguio City, two other facilities that cater for the athletes, are undergoing major repairs. Ramirez said the PSC got a big boost from PAGCOR. –