by Kristel Satumbaga
Top officials of the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) will show up with select athletes and coaches at the Malacañang Palace today in what could be the renewal of their vow to make the country No. 1 in the SEA Games once again.
Dubbed as a “unity meeting”, the event was initiated by PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez along with President Duterte’s top aides – Sen. Bong Go and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea – to show that everything is now under control as far preparations and hosting of the 30th SEA Games are concerned.
The regional biennial sportsfest which the country will be hosting for the first time since 2005 is scheduled late this year.
Also invited to boost the morale of the athletes and coaches – some of them have been incensed by the leadership squabble in the POC – are PHISGOC Chairman and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, and Presidential Adviser on Sports Dennis Uy and Philippine Olympian Association Chief Akiko Thomson.
Ramirez said the meeting is set to show a cohesive force for the country’s hosting and participation in the 30th SEA Games.
“If we want to win as one, we should embrace a united front,” said Ramirez.
All presidents of different National Sports Associations and the Philippine Paralympic Committee, as well as select national athletes are also expected to attend in the 10 a.m. assembly.
Meanwhile, Ramirez thanked President Duterte for backing the proposed national sports academy for high school students during Monday’s State of the Nation Address.
“We are very happy that it was mentioned,” said Ramirez, adding that having the academy is the way to level up sports education and science in the country.
Although no details were discussed during President Duterte’s fourth SONA, rarely does sports are ever mentioned during present and previous administrations. until now.
Ramirez said they have been strengthening sports education and grassroots development through sports linkages like the Korean Institute of Sports, United States Sports Academy and 10 other countries that partner with the PSC.
University of the Philippines’ Human Kinetics, the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Education have also been working with the PSC in its effort to sustain greater heights.
Meanwhile, PHISGOC released the competition schedule for the 56 sports his year.
Polo raises the curtain for the biennial meet on Nov. 22 at the Miguel Romero Sports Club and 2 Zobel Farm Polo Field in Calatagan, Batangas.
Floorball, men’s and women’s football and netball fire off on Nov. 25 while sailing and windsurfing start in San Juan, La Union and volleyball at the Philsports Complex (ULTRA) in Pasig City on Nov. 27.
Beach volleyball will be played on Nov. 28 while 17 sports officially fires off on Dec. 1 in various venues after the Nov. 30 Opening Ceremony at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
Nineteen sports will be played in Clark, Pampanga that include centerpiece athletics at the Athletic Stadium and aquatics at the Aquatic Center in New Clark City.
Seventeen sports will be competed in Subic, Olongapo, 21 in Metro Manila, and the rest were scattered in various venues in Luzon.
Among the anticipated sports are basketball at the Mall of Asia Arena, football at the Rizal Memorial Football Field, boxing at the PICC Forum, and basketball 3×3 at The Arena in San Juan City.