THE COUNTRY’s top sports officials had a meeting Wednesday night and they all agreed on one thing — the ball must start rolling when it comes to the country’s preparation for the Phnom Penh Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) slated May 5 to 17.
“It was a fellowship and working dinner meeting that delved more on the training of the SEA Games-bound athletes,” said Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham Tolentino on his talks with top brass of the Philippine Sports Commission chaired by Richard Bachmann at the Conrad Hotel in Pasay.
Accompanying Mr. Tolentino were most of his board including auditor and the country’s chef-de-mission to the Phnom Penh Games Chito Loyzaga, secretary-general Edwin Gastanes and treasurer Cynthia Carrion while Mr. Bachmann was with commissioners Bong Coo and Walter Torres.
All stressed the need that training must be in full swing as the biennial event is just less than four months away.
The country is out to eclipsing, if not replicating, its fourth-place finish in last year’s Hanoi Games where it had a 52-gold, 70-silver and 104-bronze medal haul although they also knew the challenges they will be facing amid host Cambodia’s controversial restrictions.
It included limiting participation by all other nations except the host in martial arts events and other disciplines.
One of the most outrageous rules the Cambodian organizers will be imposing is in gymnastics where, according to Ms. Carrion, the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president, said world champion Carlos “Caloy” Yulo could only take home as many as two gold even if he sweeps all his seven events.
The Tagaytay City mayor and PhilCycling chief also voiced concerns on the late transmission of the games’ technical handbooks on the 49 sports that the host has calendared.
“The THBs (handbooks) were issued only days ago and most of them contain some errors, mistakes the host organizer has apologized for,” he said. — Joey Villar