The Philippine team to the Myanmar (Burma)
Southeast Asian Games this December is down to 130 with the exclusion of
football and futsal bets from an initial list of 200 athletes.
Philippine chef de mission Jeff Tamayo
yesterday said the latest figure was a result of a decision by Philippine
Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. and Philippine Sports
Commission chair Richie Garcia to strictly follow the criteria that allows the
inclusion of only the gold medalists in the previous SEA Games and potential
gold performers in the national delegation to the Dec. 11-22 biennial meet.
“They’re gone,” said Tamayo, referring to
futsal and football, which wanted to send its men’s and women’s team even if it
means funding its own participation.
“Cong. Peping and chair Richie are really
pushing for a small delegation. We’re now in the process of scrutinizing the
list and include only those who are really worthy of going to Myanmar (Burma),”
said the POC second vice president.
Aside from individual athletes, Tamayo
said only men’s basketball and the 30-man dragon boat squad passed the standard.
Tamayo said Filipino athletes will now
compete in 20 of the 33 sports (460 events) at the most with medal-rich events
such as swimming and shooting failing to submit their candidate athletes.
“We’re carefully evaluating who should go
and who should stay. There will more be changes in the lineup as the SEA Games
draws near,” said Tamayo, the soft tennis chief who heads the Philippine SEAG
Wushu and chess have earlier sent word
that they’re skipping the games as a sign of protest against Burma organizers,
who had blatantly removed several Olympic sports and put indigenous disciplines
to beef up their chances of winning gold medals.
They also added several events that
Filipino athletes hardly know—14 in chess and seven in dragon boat apart from
over 40 gold medals at stake in ethnic disciplines.