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Ramirez issues stern warning to NSA heads

TAGAYTAY CITY – National sports associations that will force the inclusion of athletes and even officials the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) would deem as unfit and undeserving of berths to the 29th Southeast Asian Games would be utterly disappointed.

“Huwag nyo na ipilit,” said PSC chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez on Friday afternoon during the first day of the PSC Directional Meeting at the Tagaytay Highlands.

Ramirez was able to gather the top officials of 32 NSAs, including leaders of the marquee ones, athletics, basketball, boxing, taekwondo, volleyball and weightlifting.

Ramirez actually decided to stage the two-day meeting to brief the NSA presidents and secretary-generals about the PSC’s long-terms plans and not only the buildup to the Seag in Kuala Lumpur scheduled Aug. 19-31.

But what thundered all day long was the PSC’s firm stand on the selection of Seag-bound athletes and official.

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) had earlier sent to Malaysia a list of 650 although this will be reduced in the coming months, something Ramirez is looking forward to given the government’s strict guidelines on the selection.

Even non-athletes–NSA officials other than the president and secretary-general—will have to start looking for their own funds if they want to go to Malaysia.

“I was told that 50 percent of the total number of athletes usually make up the number of officials,” said Ramirez.

“But that’s not going to happen this time as I will reduce it to 25 percent.”

Ramirez noted that NSAs that plan to send promising athletes so they could gain valuable experience would have to forget about such a plan as the current PSC administration only wants to send those with medal-winning chances.

Tom Carrasco of triathlon, also a member of the SEAG Task Force, assures the PSC that the selection committee will be mindful of Ramirez’s sentiments.

“We will be very careful with this selection, especially in the measurable sports,” said Carrasco, who is joined in the Seag TF by POC officials Raymond Lee Reyes, Robert Mananquil, Jonee Go and Dave Carter.

The four PSC commissioners – Mon Fernandez, Celia Kiram, Arnold Agustin and Charles Maxey – make up the TF.

Among the notable absentee was swimming, which has 60 gold medals up for grabs n Malaysia.

SwWimming sec-gen Lani Velasco, who has taken the cudgels for the embattled association, could not attend as she is still overseas.

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