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POC assures lean delegation to SEAG

TAGAYTAY CITY – The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has assured the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) that the delegation to the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia is not bloating to grotesque levels.

Tom Carrasco of triathlon, who heads the SEAG Task Force tasked to handle the selection of athletes to the Aug. 19-31 sportsfest, made the guarantee at the close yesterday of the two-day PSC Directional Meeting at Tagaytay Highlands.

“Hindi lolobo ‘yan kagaya ng dati,” said Carrasco. “You’ll see.”

PSC chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez had made it clear that only athletes with genuine chances of medaling will be selected and funded to go to Kuala Lumpur.

Even officials who tag along with athletes will be screened, said Ramirez, who wants the SEAG TF to come up with a number that will be dramatically smaller than the previous.

In the past, the PSC approved the participation – and funding – of delegations that were bursting at the seams, a practice that Ramirez abhors.

Two years ago in Singapore where the Philippines placed sixth overall with only 29 gold medals, there were 467 athletes that participated.

In 2007 (Thailand), 620 were sent to compete and in 2001 (Indonesia), there were 520 and the country also ended up sixth.

“Why are we sending a big delegation when we could only win these small number of medals?” asked Ramirez, deeply bothered with the thought of spending public funds that go down the drain.

Malaysia is staging 406 events in 38 sports and the Philippines is raring to make a splash as it gets ready for the hosting of the 2019 edition.

Ramirez has ensured the NSAs preparing for the Seag that the PSC will support their respective buildups by funding their overseas stints and training provided that they deliver.

The meeting drew the attendance of 40 NSA leaders and the active participation of the POC, which was represented by first vice-president Joey Romasanta and Steve Hontiveros.

The NSAs also came in full force save for a few.

But the major players attended, including the influential MVP Group that represents basketball and boxing with Al Panlilio and Ricky Vargas showing up as well to show their support to Ramirez.