Sunday, February 03, 2013

Fair Play: Why PHL should boycott this year's SEA Games

Myanmar just beat us in the Southeast Asian Games medal race 11 months before the tournament will kick off.

The Philippines finished sixth overall in 2011 with a gold-silver-bronze haul of 36-56-77, while Myanmar was seventh with 16-27-37.

For this year's game, expect 50 more for Myanmar and 16 less for the Philippines.

Welcome to the farce that is the Southeast Asian Games.

Aside from dropping gymnastics, lawn tennis, fencing and bowling, the hosts also dropped 16 events in athletics and swimming. And this year's SEAG won't have the regular fixture like the triple jump, 400-meter hurdles, decathlon and heptathlon in athletics and the 1,500 freestyle and 400m individual medley in swimming.

And do you know who won the gold medal in these 16 events in 2011?

The Philippines.

And, that's not it!

Myanmar, as the host, added its traditional sports like kempo, tarung derajat, voviname and chinlone, which will stake 50 gold medals!


It would be like the Philippines, if it will host the SEAG again, dropping football and badminton, and adding 20 weight classes and a gay division in boxing, 20 more events in billiards and adding the men's and women's divisions for 3-on-3, 1-on-1, onse-onse, slam-dunk, 3-point shootout in basketball.

That's how crazy the SEA Games has become.

The Philippine Sports Commission is crying foul of course and wants the Philippine Olympic Committee to take a stand.

"We might just as well just send a token delegation of about 20 to 30 athletes.  We are not going to surrender in a fight, but it should be fair," PSC chairman Ritchie Garcia said.

I agree, this isn't a fair fight.  This is cheating within the rules.

But I don't agree with the PSC's plan to send a token delegation.  If Myanmar insists on their move, the best answer for the PSC is not to send a delegation at all.

This is not a competition.  This is not gamemanship.  

This is a farce.

Forget the SEA Games, sending a team would be a waste of money better spent on grassroots development.

If we send a team, we'd just be a party to these farcical games.

Forget the SEA Games, focus on the grassroots.  It would be money better spent. 

DAVIS CUP.  Though there are still two singles matches yet to be played as I write this, the Philippines entry to the second round of the Davis Cup Asia/Oceana Group 2 is pretty much sealed after Ruben Gonzales and Treat Huey won the doubles match against Syria in Plantation Bay.

The doubles win followed a sweep of the singles matches last Friday, and we are off to a date with either Kuwait or Thailand in the second round on April 5-7.  Win that tie, and we're going to the third round, against New Zealand, Pakistan or Sri Lanka, with a spot in Group 1 as the ultimate prize.

In the first round, only the Philippines and New Zealand, which beat us 5-0 last year, sealed their second round entries in the second day, while the rest had to go through Sunday's reverse singles to determine their fates.  Pakistan had a 2-1 lead over Sri Lanka, while Thailand had the edge, 2-1, over Kuwait.

Can this team, which is playing minus Cecil Mamiit, take us all the way to Group 1?

I threw out my crystal ball after the Australian Open, but I have a feeling that we can.


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