Asian Games: Good for bronze and you're in

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 12 2014 09:13 AM | Updated as of Jan 12 2014 05:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The chef de mission to this year’s Asian Games in Incheon has yet to announce the criteria to be used in selecting the members of the Philippine delegation.

Richie Garcia, also chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission, said the Asiad task force must first be formed even before they can start talk about criteria.

But those hoping for inclusion to the Asiad delegation should have an idea of what to expect, especially athletes in measurable sports.

Jose Romasanta, chef de mission to the 2010 Asiad in Guangzhou, gave a hint of what to expect.

“It’s the bronze,” said Romasanta, also vice president of the Philippine Olympic Committee.

Romasanta said an athlete that can come close to the bronze standard in the Asian Games, the World Championships or the Olympics should go to Incheon.

He said not even a gold medal in the recent Myanmar SEA Games is an assurance because there are SEAG events where the gold standard doesn’t come close to a bronze in the Asian Games.

Romasanta headed the task force for the 2010 Asian Games and was joined by Moying Martelino, Chippy Espiritu and the late Clarito Samson.

“There’s no assurance that a gold medal in the SEA Games is good for at least a bronze in the Asian Games,” said Martelino, an old hand in Philippine sports.

Still, it doesn’t mean that Garcia will close the doors on any athlete working for his or her inclusion.

The PSC chief is not setting a limit on the size of the delegation, saying, “We will send as many qualified athletes as we can.”

But the NSAs (national sports associations), Garcia said, “must justify” the inclusion of their athletes. “Walang samaan ng loob (if they are denied).”

Romasanta recalled that they set very strict criteria for the 2010 Asian Games, and based on this, only 126 athletes qualified.

However, in the end, certain sports vehemently insisted on the inclusion of their athletes, eventually raising the number of athletes to 188.

“But we were proven right because none of the late inclusions won a medal in Guangzhou. All our medals (three golds, four silvers and nine bronzes) came from the initial list,” said Romasanta.

“The system worked in terms of our evaluation. The results proved the system right,” he added.

“We already have the template,” Martelino said.