From 3rd place early on, PH drops to 5th in medal tally
Local sports leaders and the public must look at the bigger picture, as the country continued to slip in the medal rankings at the 31st Vietnam Southeast Asian Games, Philippine Sports Commission chairman William “Butch” Ramirez said on Saturday.
“We must remind everyone that our taking part in the Vietnam SEA Games has a bearing in our build-up to our competing in bigger international competitions such as the Asian Games and Olympics. Let us look at the bigger picture,” Ramirez said.
“Let us not judge or criticize our athletes who have competed and are still competing in Vietnam. Let us not discourage them and continue to support them all the way. There will be a time and place for that.”
As of posting time, the Philippines sat at fifth place in the 11-nation tournament, with host Vietnam assured of the overall title (169 gold medals and 369 overall), and Thailand and Indonesia all but securing second and third places respectively.
Ramirez, who has been closely monitoring the national team’s progress in Vietnam, cited the national judo team as an example of overcoming challenges.
The judokas were without the services of Kiyomi Watanabe and Mariya Takahaski – who won gold medals in the 2019 Philippine SEA Games – because of injury and academics, respectively.
Rather than be discouraged, the Philippine Judo Federation under new president Alexander “Ali” Sulit, worked with the remaining athletes who were available to compete.
Judo delivered 2 gold medals, courtesy of Rena Furukawa and Shugen Nakano in the women’s 57kg and men’s 66kg divisions, respectively.
“This is the kind of robust resourcefulness and heart we expect from our athletes and their sports leaders, who don’t give excuses but do what needs to be done for their respective sport. We salute Sulit and the national judo team,” Ramirez said.
This attitude, Ramirez added, was one reason the government sports agency spent P232 million for the national delegation’s participation in all but two of 40 events in Hanoi.
“We will continue to pray for their safety and health, whatever their performance. We are very happy and proud of our athletes and coaches who fought hard for our country and people,” Ramirez said.
“Keep the fighting spirit alive as our Filipino athletes show their resilience in achieving their goals for our beloved country.”