Garcia: PH to make big comeback in SEAG

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 25 2012 08:56 AM | Updated as of Jul 25 2012 04:56 PM

MANILA, Philippines - While the Philippines tries its luck in the London Olympics, its top sports officials, this early, are looking forward to the 27th Southeast Asian Games in 2013.

"The next SEA Games we should be up there," said Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia yesterday.

The Philippines won the overall when it hosted the SEA Games in 2005, but has fallen down the ladder in the next three stagings of the biennial meet.

Garcia said the PSC and the Philippine Olympic Committee will make sure the country will improve on its sixth place finish in 2011 in Indonesia.

"We should focus on beating Malaysia and Singapore," said the chairman of the government's funding arm in sports.

Indonesia was overall champion in 2011 followed by Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.

Garcia said to be able to get to the top, the Philippines must take it "one day at a time" and that may include fending off Myanmar, the host country.

"It will be very difficult to shoot for the number one spot. But we need to improve. In the next SEA Games, all our athletes should strive to win medals," said Garcia.

There are 32 sports being lined up for the next SEA Games, and 21 of them are Olympic sports. There will be very limited number of indigenous sports in the calendar.

Garcia said the PSC will also make sure it funds only the athletes with strong medal chances in the next SEA Games.

Otherwise, he added, they will be wasting the people's money.

"Let us start with the priority athletes and the priority sports, those who really have chances of winning the gold medal in Myanmar," he said.

And it begins right after the London Olympics.

"Maybe we can double or triple our medal output in the next SEA Games," Garcia said.