Nothing new in SEA Games debacle
By Al S. Mendoza
FIRST, Go Teng Kok, the athletics chief known simply as GTK, was expelled from the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Second, Mark Joseph, the swimming boss, had been under siege by parents of swimmers that are supposed to be his allies.
Next, many other athletes were not recognized to compete by our very own sports officials tasked to look after the welfare of competitors bound for overseas combat.
Now, tell me: With those as backdrop to the war that lies ahead, how then can we perform well in the 26th Southeast Asian Games just ended in Indonesia?
GTK has been the heart of soul of the country’s athletics, he being the president for nearly 30 years now of the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association.
Because he criticized what he believed was the wrong manner with which Olympic president Peping Cojuangco has been running the affairs of our sports programs, he got sacked by the Olympic’s general assembly.
Since they did that injustice to GTK just weeks before the SEA Games, the morale of the athletes under his command would quickly dive to rock-bottom.
Result in Indonesia: the GTK Army could only win two gold medals out of the 47 staked in stark contrast to the 7 gold medals two years back – the most by any contingent in the 2009 SEA Games in Laos.
Joseph’s swimmers could only eke out a solitary gold medal out of the 67 contested in swimming and aquatics – the biggest flop of all from the huge delegation of 527 competitors from the Philippine side.
Many others in the delegation weren’t supposed to be in Indonesia. More than a hundred became pseudo-competitors and many of them were grotesquely trampled upon by the opposition.
But do you know why those hundred or so athletes were in Indonesia?
They paid their way into the Games – meaning, they had the money for air fare and everything so that our officials gave them the green light to be in the Games.
It’s the most twisted logic we ever see in a sports delegation, and also a surefire formula for sporting slaughter that’s been plaguing our sports program for some time now.
So, when we finished sixth overall in the 11-nation event after we limped home fifth in 2009 in Laos, expect the blame game to happen again among our sports officials.
The last thing you will hear though, if ever you will hear it, is an official himself accepting the blame for the debacle in Indonesia.
Well, what else is new?