Asian Games: As POC chief hails Pinoy athletes, more private-sector help sought

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 01 2018 11:06 PM | Updated as of Sep 02 2018 02:45 AM

The Philippine delegation to the 2018 Asian Games during the opening ceremonies on August 18. Chaideer Mahyuddin, Reuters

JAKARTA—Team Philippines did not quite achieve the goal set out by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) for the 2018 Asian Games, but POC president Ricky Vargas had no complaints about their performance.

“From a goal process that we set, sana ma-achieve namin ang No. 15,” Vargas said Saturday afternoon, after the gold medal matches at Hall C of the Jakarta International Expo.

The Philippines finished its Asian Games stint with four gold medals, two silvers, and 15 bronzes, good for a 19th-place finish here.

Though it was unable to reach 15th place, it was still a massive improvement from Team Philippines’ performance in Incheon four years ago, when the Filipino athletes mustered a 1-3-11 gold-silver-bronze haul. 

"’Yung mga atleta natin can stand proud on the medal stand,” said Vargas. “We have really improved our tally from one gold, three silvers, and 11 bronze medals. We’ve done better.”

He was especially proud of the female athletes, who produced all four gold medals for the Philippines.

“The women in sports are really giving us so much pride,” he said. “So we should really look at parity and bring in more sports. They have proven that they can win.”

Still, there were plenty of lessons that the Philippine delegation can pick up from its stint here . Vargas noted that the national sports associations that were “inclusive" were generally more successful, as were those NSAs without conflicts in their leadership.

“Those (NSAs) that take accountability for their actions are generally more successful,” he also said.

Vargas also noted that the athletes that produced gold medals were supported not just by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), but also the private sector. He pointed out that the golf team along with Margielyn Didal, the country’s golden skateboarder, received support from the MVP Sports Foundation.

“Kami ang lumalapit sa private sector para tulungan,” Vargas explained. “We’d like to continue that role -- ask San Miguel, MVPSF, Ayala, Uytengsu to continue to support.”

“Hindi namin maa-afford ‘yung mga incentive na mag-isa,” he stressed. “And gusto namin, ‘yung mga kumpanya will help in the journey, not after. Pero mahalaga din ‘yung after din, to give the rewards.”

At the end of the day, it should be all about the athletes, said Vargas.

“Ang atleta talaga ang magdadala, kaya the athlete needs all the support,” he said. “They get the blame, they get the reward, but our role is to really support the athletes.”

“They are the most important part of the equation.”

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)