CDM to NSAs: Field ‘only’ qualified athletes to SEA Games  

By Jelly Musico

August 2, 2019, 2:30 pm

<p>Chef de mission and Philippine Sports Commission chairman William 'Butch' Ramierz <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Chef de mission and Philippine Sports Commission chairman William 'Butch' Ramierz (File photo)

MANILA – Team Philippines chef de mission (CDM) and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William “Butch” Ramirez said on Thursday the national sports associations (NSAs) should field only the deserving athletes in the 30th Southeast Asian Games which the country will host from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 this year.

Ramirez made this appeal as he reminded the remaining NSAs to submit the names of their respective athletes who will represent the country in the biennial meet.

“We will screen the list and then we will talk one-on-one with NSAs. It will be heart-to-heart talk. We will ask them if these athletes will really deliver medals because they are the one who know well their athletes,” Ramirez said in a media interview.

“There are criteria like those who performed in the international competitions and if they are not qualified, they (athletes) don’t deserve to be part of the games,” he added.

He said 35 NSAs have already submitted their final athletes while 25 more, including medal-rich sports of swimming and athletes, have yet to submit their official lineup.

Based on the number of entries submitted by the NSAs, Ramirez said at least 1,245 athletes will represent the country in the SEA Games. A total of 623 team officials will join them.

When asked if the athletes are duty-bound to duplicate the country’s overall championship the last time it host the SEA Gams in 2005, Ramirez said Team Philippines will just follow the marching order of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“As I know him as President, he only told me, ‘Butch, we are not rich country but we will do our best ‘fair and square’. If we win, let’s celebrate; if not, let’s find what’s lacking,” said Ramirez, who is also from Davao City like the President.

“But of course, I said, in the midst of the problems, we might produce gold (medals) because we are the host,” he added.

He said the leadership squabble in the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and some reports of corruption allegations should not hinder the athletes to prepare and deliver well for the country.

“I would speculate that what’s happening in the Philippine sports, they are also affected but the squabbles in the POC is not the reason. Our athletes are mature to take care of their problems,” he said.

The PSC chief said the government has been spending a lot of money for the athletes’ exposures abroad as part of their preparation for the SEA Games.

“At the end of the day, I can see positive side of the problems, who knows, although by equation it’s really difficult, we might perform well. Now, it’s August. We have only three months left. Very tight,” he said.

Ramirez, however, said the country’s preparation for its fourth hosting of the SEA Games remains within the timeline.

“The President have committed the SEA Games to the Asean countries, there’s no doubt. That’s why he is ordering the PSC to really proceed to the hosting,” Ramirez said.

“But then again, PHISGOC and POC are part of it (hosting). The problem of the POC is their problem, it’s not SEA Games. The PSC will work very hard. We are still within the timeline,” he added.

At least 10,000 athletes will compete in the 2019 SEA Games from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste, Singapore and Vietnam.

They will participate in 543 sports events to be held in different venues including the world-class New Clark City sports complex in Capas, Tarlac, which is expected to be finished by end of August. (PNA)