POC prexy overwhelmed by athletes’ SEAG performance

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Flame of the controversial and symbolic P50M cauldron will now be snuffed out, signaling the close of the 12-day event the country hosted for only the fourth time since its inception in 1959.  

MANILA, Philippines – As the 30th edition of the Southeast Asian Games formally closed Wednesday (11 December 2019), Philippine Olympic Committee President Bambol Tolentino said he was overcome by the performance that PH athletes showed in the 12-day biennial-regional meet.

“I am overwhelmed by the performance of our athletes in the 30th SEA Games. They showed us that with proper support and encouragement, they will deliver,” Tolentino said.

He also expressed elation on them saying “I am proud that they proved that my faith in them was well-placed. But this is just the beginning. I see better things ahead for Philippine sports.”

For his part and that of the POC, Tolentino said he will endeavor to return the favor as he claimed “the Philippine Olympic Committee will partner with both government and private sectors to ensure this will indeed happen. Next stop- the Olympics! Mabuhay ang ating mga Atleta!”

As the curtains fall for the 30th edition of the Games at the 20,000-seater New Clark City Stadium, the Philippines was formally declared as the overall championship of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

The Philippines bagged 149 gold medals, 117 silver, and 120 bronze for a total of 386, also the highest output in the event’s 60-year history. It beat the Philippines’ previous best finish in the 1991 edition of the games, a 91-62-86 haul.

Host Philippines went to work early on, as the Nationals harvested 10 gold medals from dancesport, and 14 from arnis as games got underway. It also ended a decade-long gold medal drought in swimming, when James Deiparine finished first in the men’s 100m breaststroke.

A breakthrough gold was also clinched by Sibol, the country’s esports team hauled in four golds. Moreover, the country’s basketball squads completed a four-tournament sweep in the men’s and women’s 5×5 and 3×3 competitions.

Combat sports, like kickboxing and Muay — where the country was able to host the inaugural wai-kru event, also took center stage. The Philippine jiujitsu contingent nabbed five of 11 gold medals, with Meggie Ochoa leading the way.

In order to celebrate the host’s blockbuster performance, the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) laid out an exciting closing ceremony later in the day Wednesday at the NCC Athletics Stadium in Capas, Tarlac.

Hosting duties were also slated to be passed to Vietnam, which was the runner-up of this year’s edition, after amassing 96 gold, 85 silver, and 104 bronze medals, which sums up to 285 awards.

In addition, a concert will be held, featuring Grammy-winning group Black Eyed Peas and Arnel Pineda.

“It’s is a celebration. A concert for the volunteers, media, everybody,” PHISGOC COO Ramon Suzara told reporters last Sunday at The Villages within the Clark Freeport Zone.

Following the tradition of SEA Games past, the best athletes from the men’s and women’s individual divisions will be awarded.

A group, headed by Philippine Olympic Committee Secretary-General Edwin Gastanes, was tasked to tabulate votes from the 11 national Olympic Committees following certain criteria. Also, for the first time, a Fair Play citation will be awarded.

The ESPN5 also reported that Suzara mentioned about the POC’s plan to recommend the Philippines to bid for the 2030 Asian Games, an event the country last hosted in 1954.

“I think it’s in the works. The nod of the President [Duterte], I hope it will be positive, we will pass [the formal bid] by next week.”

The POC president was also accordingly keen on the idea of hosting the Asian Games but he clarified later by saying “this is just a possibility” nothing is yet concrete. (IAMIGO/CNS)

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