Organizers apologize to ‘inconvenienced’ foreign athletes for 30th SEA Games

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PHISGOC chief operating officer Ramon Suzara

MANILA, Philippines – More foreign delegation of athletes and sports officials arrived Sunday (24 November 2019) for the 30th Southeast Asian Games but the lack in preparation on the part of the welcoming party assigned by organizers reared its ugly head.

And this, the organizers issued apologies on Sunday morning over complaints lodged by football teams from Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, and Thailand which arrived ahead of the competition for “acclimatization.”

Myanmar and Timor-Leste’s teams complained about the long wait they experienced in the airport even as they accordingly brought to the wrong hotel.

Another football team from Thailand complained about accreditation and accommodation issues saying the distance of the venue to their hotel prevented them from practicing.

The Cambodian team also complained their hotel rooms were not yet ready when they arrived.

“We sincerely apologize to our athlete guests from Timor-Leste, Myanmar, and Cambodia for the inconvenience caused to them by the confusion regarding their transportation and hotel arrangements,” the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) said in a statement.

At the same time, Phisgoc vowed “to do better” in the next few days prior to the start of the Games on November 30, 2019.

“While PHISGOC strives to ensure proper coordination of the arrival details, airport welcome and transportation provisions of all international teams to their respective assigned hotels, we acknowledge our shortcomings in this particular incident and vow to do better.”

The Timor-Leste team has already been taken to the nearby Hotel Jen after they were mistakenly sent to Century Hotel at first.

“As to the Cambodian football team, their change in arrival details was relayed late to the PHISGOC Games Services Department,” explained PHISGOC.

On the part of Thailand, PHISGOC chief operating officer Ramon Suzara said screening is a “one-by-one” process and that 80 to 90 percent have already been given to National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in advance but still they have to check them individually.

“The majority of accreditation was already given to the NOCs in advance, there are just some missing accreditations that the NOCs have to collect,” Suzara said.

“This happens even in other games, in the Olympic games we have to wait 2 hours to get the accreditation cards.”

But the PHISGOC countered other arrivals, 75 as of Saturday, “have gone off without a hitch.”

“The incident with the two teams remains a constant reminder for us as organizers to be more diligent. We owe it to our guests and our countrymen,” it said.

Cambodia Football coach Felix Dalmas, in a press briefing Sunday, said it was “time to move on and focus on soccer.”

“Things happen and we just had to wait a few hours to get picked up, it wasn’t ideal. Things happen, we’re ready for this. We adjust and we evolve and that’s one of the qualities of our team. The guys just took it with the best spirit so we’re good,” Dalmas said.

For his part, Myanmar Football coach Velizar Popov said they were “not happy with some things” in their arrival but said these were “not the most important.”

“If you start looking for excuses from the first day, you will find it always. We are here for our target and we are determined to do,” he said.

Timor Leste Football coach Fabiano Flora said he hopes that the hitches would not happen again.

“All nations deserve respect and what happened yesterday was not so beautiful. It’s okay, it happened, it’s finished. Now we just focus on games,” he said. (IAMIGO/CNS)

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