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30th SEA Games Special Issue 29 November-6 December 2019


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PSC Chairman William I. Ramirez

Laban, atletang Pilipino! W

ITH the country officially pulling back the curtains to welcome everyone to the greatest athletic show in the Southeast Asian region this year—the 30th Southeast Asian Games, I would like to share some thoughts as a 69 year old who has been given the privilege to witness first-hand the, and at times be part of, our colored sporting history.

We will have 11 days of competition, and I can see the 1,496-strong Philippine contingent fighting it out with their every breath and exerting their effort to the last drop of their sweat to bring honor to this country, in front of their very own blood and flesh. From our forebears who have shown the skillfulness of the Filipino athlete and our natural inclination to being champions, I have faith that our present breed of athletes will also meet their destiny with success.

The PSC board has been working very hard to give every possible support that we can muster as a small agency under the Office of the President. The men and women of the PSC have been working 24/7 to be able to extend assistance in the different areas of preparation to the Games. As promised, the 5 facilities we promised to host 7 out of 56 sports of the Games were turned over, ready and on time. We have 8 more (nonSEAG) facilities in different phases of construction,



refurbishment and repairs. Together with the Philippine Olympic Committee and the

Philippine SEAG Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), we are all working hard to support the athletes since we started last year. We may have different styles of management but we have all resolved a long time ago to put all differences aside and move as one, united in the goal to deliver a good hosting and field a delegation that will really showcase our race of heroes. I know that despite the challenges, it was pushed to have the Games spread out so that more cities and municipalities get involved and benefit from the economic and social benefits that the Games bring with it. As the Chef de Mission, I have been in constant communication with athletes, teams, officials, and NSAs to ensure that needs are met, issues are resolved and that our sincere care for the Filipino athlete are felt and shown. The same is also true for all members of the PSC board, our doctors, medical team,

psychologists, physiotherapists, janitors,

’Parents let us continue to motivate and inspire our athletes. To our coaches, please continue mentoring, focused on your mission to ’polish our diamonds in the rough.‘ facilities team and all others in the PSC solid in their support for the Philippine team. I have received a lot of support from athletic directors, LGUs and coordinators, the different government agencies like CHED and DepEd—and they are all expecting a good finish for the Philippine team—all these negative reports notwithstanding. Let us all keep in mind that for some of these athletes, sports is their path to a better life and escape the cycle of poverty and

hopelessness. To all of them, this is their chance to reach their dreams. They all deserve our support. Mga kababayan, magkaisa tayo para sa ating bansa, wala na tayong ibang bayan kundi Pilipinas lang. Can we focus and get united for these 11 days to support our Team Philippines in the biggest fight of of their lives, for honor and glory of our dear motherland? Parents let us continue to motivate and inspire our athletes. To our coaches, please continue mentoring, focused on your mission to “polish our diamonds in the rough.” Our athletes, whatever you are going through, know that we are supporting you, recognizing your sacrifices and cheering you on. Let us all enjoy this experience, for when will we ever have the Games visit us again? It is our chance to see high-level competition played within our backyard. So I enjoin all of you, get your flaglets waiving and let us troop to the venues to show our support to our teams. When we all look back to this, may we all have the confidence to say that we gave our very best, as an athlete, as a worker or as a Filipino cheering on their kababayans. All for flag and country. Mabuhay ang atletang Pilipino! Laban atletang Pilipino!


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ONE. BILLION. PESOS. hat’s the whopping amount the Philippine Sports Commission allotted for the Filipino athletes participating in the 30th Asian Games, which the country is hosting from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, 2019.

T PSC confident P1-b investment on athletes will bear fruit in SEAG Gymnast Carlos Yulo


29 November-6 December 2019

30th SEA Games Special Issue ‘We spent P1 billion for the training and exposure of our athletes abroad. Never in history of our country has government been this supportive of the Filipino athlete, financially. Ngayon lang nangyari ito sa pamunuan ng ating pangulong Rodrigo Duterte.’

President Rodrigo Duterte

And PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez is confident that the sport body’s investment will “bear fruit” soon. Ramirez said the PSC is determined to help national athletes reach world-class standards in terms of performance in the international scene. “We spent P1 billion for the training and exposure of our athletes abroad. Never in the history of our country has government been this supportive of the Filipino athlete, financially. Ngayon

lang nangyari ito sa pamunuan ng ating pangulong Rodrigo Duterte,” said Ramirez. Most of the funding was spent on the athletes’ international training and exposure, equipment, foreign coaches, education and nutrition. “We want them to be physically and mentally equipped when they represent the country in foreign competitions. Our support to them actually is not just geared for these SEA Games, but even beyond

Judoka Kiyomi Watanabe

because we want to create a foundation in these games where we can build on our gains,” said Ramirez. “I am confident that our P1-billion investment on our athletes will bear fruit, not only in the SEA Games but perhaps in the Tokyo Olympics and even the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, as well” Ramirez said. The Philippines is hosting the 30th edition of the biennial meet. And although the lead agency tasked to organize the games is

Skateboarder Margielyn Didal

the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc), the PSC has been a valuable support agency to the Phisgoc, the Philippine Olympic Committee and the various national sports associations to ensure the country’s successful hosting of the games and the Filipino athletes’ rise to international standards. “We want to make sure our investment in our athletes is taken care of with the smooth hosting of the games that is why we are extending our support to the organizing committee. Sila (athletes) naman ang bida rito,” said Ramirez. The PSC is also tasked with the upkeep of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, the Philsports Arena, the Teacher’s Camp in Baguio and several other sports facilities in the countryside. The RMSC, for one, has been renovated to standards befitting its history, with the help of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. Grassroots sports is also an area where the PSC has been active as Ramirez reiterated his goal to continue the growth of the Philippine Sports Institute, the Batang Pinoy, the Philippine National Games and the Laro’t Saya sa Parke. “We are just answering the mandate of our President, who wants to make sports accessible to all Filipinos,” said Ramirez. “Go for the golds as if

your life depended on them and an entire nation will be grateful,” said Ramirez, who is also the chef de mission of Team Philippines. “Let’s bring good news to everyone. We need it, all Filipinos need it.” As expected, the Philippines is fielding the largest delegation in the SEA Games – numbering 1,115 athletes and 753 coaches and officials for a total of 1,868. The athletes will be shooting for most of the 530 golds at stake in 56 sports, scattered in 44 venues spread across Metro Manila and Southern Luzon, Subic and New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac. This is the fourth time the Philippines is hosting the event. The first one was in 1981, when it was still called the Southeast Asian Peninsular Games. Filipinos placed second during their second hosting in 1991, before finally winning the overall championship in what is now known as “The Miracle of 2005.” That year, the Philippines asserted its supremacy in the region by harvesting 291 medals (113 golds, 84 silvers, 94 bronzes), with Thailand securing 2nd spot, and Vietnam placing 3rd. “Nobody expected us to win in 2005, but we did,” said Ramirez. “For nine days that year, Filipinos were united by our athletes’ sporting achievement. We did it once, let’s do it again, for flag and country.”


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Shown here are (from left to right) PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, Jeanette Obiena (mother of EJ), Emerson Obiena (father of EJ), PSC Chairman William Ramirez, EJ Obiena, PSC Commissioners Celia Kiram and Charles Raymond Maxey during Obiena’s courtesy visit last Tuesday at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.

PH sports renaissance

By Peter Atencio WHAT happens when a Filipino athlete, ably funded by the government, pushes the boundaries of his abilities? A renaissance of sorts in Philippine sports. That seems to be the explanation as to why we have the likes of pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, boxers Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Felix Marcial, and before them weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and skateboarder Margielyn Didal. Diaz started it all in the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil, where she ended the country’s 20-year medal drought in the games by securing a silver medal in the

women’s 53-kg weightlifting division. Diaz, a native of Zamboanga City, became the first female athlete to win an Olympic medal for the Philippines. She was also the first Filipino to medal in weightlifting, and the first non-boxer to medal from the Philippines since 1936. The 25-year-old Diaz, a bronze medalist in the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships and a gold medal winner in Asia, ably followed it up with a gold medal two years later in the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, where her fellow lady athlete Didal burst into the spotlight with her own gold in women’s street skate competition. Didal, who honed her

skateboarding skills in the streets of Lahug, Cebu City, turned her hobby into a pathway to fame and fortune as she delivered the Philippines’ fourth gold in the games and scored a dominant 30.4 in a smashing Asian Games debut that was way ahead of the eventual silver medalist’s score as Japan’s Isa Kaya placed a distant second with 25.0 points from the combined two runs and two top tricks. Obiena, who was unsuccessful during the Indonesia Asiad, bounced back strong a year later. He put his Asiad debacle behind as he cracked the world’s Top 10 Pole Vault rankings on the strength of his victories in the 2019 Summer Universiade in

Napoli, Italy, where he leapt for 5.76 meters, followed by another gold-medal feat (5.81meters) in the Men’s Pole Vault competition of the Salto Con L’asta in Piazza Chiari 2019 in Italy. The Chiari feat made him the first Filipino athlete to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Obiena was the pole-vault favorite for the gold in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games, but he sustained an ACL injury during practice a day before he was to leave for Malaysia. A seven-month rehabilitation period, followed by an intense training in Formia, Italy under Vitaly Petrov, who was a coach of pole vault legend Sergei Bubka, had Obiena

bouncing back from his horrendous injury. Obiena’s training was ensured through financial support from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). “We are monitoring EJ’s (Obiena) progress,” PSC Chairman William Ramirez said. “Athletics, being a centerpiece event of the SEA Games, was infused with government support as is usual in the international events our athletes take part in. And lately, EJ has proved himself more in his desire to chase his SEA Games dream. We, in the PSC, are with him. Let us support EJ and the other Filipino athletes.” Under Petrov, Obiena has improved by leaps and bounds, something he hopes to transform into a


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30th SEA Games Special Issue medal of any color, hopefully gold, in the Southeast Asian Games, where athletics has been a goldmine for the country. Like Obiena, Yulo had a forgettable Asian Games campaign. And Like Obiena, Yulo bounced back big time. Yulo capped his campaign in the 41st FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships with a stirring golden in clinching the men’s floor exercise title at the Hans Schleyer Halle in Germany. Performing next to last among the eight finalists, Yulo came through with an awe-inspiring display of grace, artistry and athleticism in securing the gold with an eyepopping score of 15.300 points. Playing a major factor in the victory was the degree of difficulty of Yulo’s routine—the highest among the entries at 6.500 to (Israel) Artem Dolgopyat’s 6.400. It proved to be Yulo’s winning edge. Likewise eclipsed by Yulo’s triumph was China’s Xiao Ruoteng, the men’s all-around silver medalist in the 2018 edition held in Doha, Qatar, who likewise seemed a cinch for silver with his score of 14.933, only to be relegated to the bronze in the face of the Filipino’s virtuoso performance. Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya, whose stern training over six years had molded the once rough diamond into a world-beater, was seen crying tears of joy, while watching his ward humble the giants in the sport. Among them was newly-crowned Russian all-around champion Nikita Nagornyy, who could only muster 14.166 in opening the all-around

finals and wallowed in sixth place. And for the first time in the 41 editions of the global gymnastics showcase, the Philippine national anthem was played in the tournament that drew the best gymnasts from 92 countries to this picturesque German City. “I am speechless because I did not expect to win because I thought the Israeli’s score was far too high,” admitted Yulo. “But I wanted to show everyone what I could do so I just wanted to do my best. Talagang napakasaya ko po.” “I am happy for Caloy because all his hard work and sacrifice paid off,” noted Kugimiya. “Actually he has done better in practice so I was confident about his performance.” Back home, Chairman Ramirez praised Yulo’s performance, saying: “We are thrilled with the golden performance with Yulo at the world champs. President Rodrigo Duterte is happy, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and (former Special Assistant to the President and) Sen. Bong Go have been monitoring the competition. The Office of the President and the PSC family congratulates Caloy on this achievement. Mabuhay ang atletang Pilipino!” Less than a day after Yulo’s historic triumph, Petecio also became a world champion as she closed out her 2019 World Championships campaign with a dominant performance against hometown girl

Liudmila Vorontsove, a native of the host city of Ulan-Ude, Russia. In the process, she became the second Filipina world boxing champion following Josie Gabuco’s win in 2012. Despite the din of the highly partisan crowd, Petecio kept her composure and delivered the clearer and more solid blows in the 3-round affair. The score, however, was a split decision with 3 judges, Australia (30-27), Korea (30-27) and Ireland (2928) giving the nod to Petecio, while Japan (30-27) and Argentina (29-28) had it for the Russian.

To reach the finals, Petecio beat English fighter, Karriss Artingstall, 4-1. Vorontsova arranged a title fight with Petecio when she upended Lin Yu-ting of Taiwan, 3-2. Petecio, one of the Philippines’ gold-medal hopefuls in the Southeast Asian Games, came through with a flurry of punches to beat Vorontsova in the three-round affair. In the quarterfinals, Petecio exacted vengeance on Japanese Sena Irie Thursday, scoring a 4-1 decision to advance to the semifinals. Sirie had gotten the better of Petecio in the Asian Boxing Championships April this year in Bangkok, but it was payback time for the Filipina bet. “I felt I wasn’t in top form in Thailand. Kaya ngayon talagang pinaghandaan ko ng mabuti ang tournament na ito”, said featherweight (57kg) Petecio. A week before, it was Marcial who was in the headlines as he settled for a silver medal in the middleweight division of the AIBA World Championships in Ekaterinburg, Russia. As of now, only two athletes— Obiena and Yulo—have qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in July and August next year. But Chairman Ramirez believes more are coming. “If we come up with 20 qualified candidates, I think that will be one of the biggest Philippine delegations to the Olympics.” said Ramirez. Now that, would truly be a Philippine renaissance in sports.


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New sports in SEA Games By Charles Dantes AS THE official opening is just one torch lighting away, the Philippines is eager to open the 30th biennial regional multi-sport event. Called the biggest games yet, the 30th SEA Games returns to our country after 14 years and will feature a record-breaking 530 events in 56 games spread across 44 different venues. An additional 12 new sports were named to be part of this year’s competitions, making Filipino fans express their excitement for these new games. In this special report, the Manila Standard took a quick look at these new contests and why it is now part of the 2019 SEA Games. ESPORTS Debuting for the first time in a medal event, Esports is one of the most talked-about events added to the biennial meet, making gaming enthusiasts thrilled to watch their favorite titles played for the country’s prestige. The games that will be included are; Arena of Valor, DoTA 2, Hearthstone, Mobile Legends, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, and Tekken. The Filipino national team is named Sibol Esports Team, the members of which were chosen from a 77-player pool. Esports has now redefined the look of a competing national athlete. FLOORBALL Floorball has been recognized as a medal sport back in the 2017 World Games in Wrocland, Poland, where Sweden won the first gold medal. Similar to hockey, floorball consists of five players and a goalkeeper per team inside a wooden rink for three-quarters lasting for 20 minutes each. While the sport is relatively new and thus the rules are still evolving and changing, the origin of Floorball is traced back to 1960s, when a game called Cosom Hockey was developed before the Swedes created the present-day Floorball in the 70s. NETBALL Derived from the early version of basketball, netball progressed into its own sport as a number of women participating in games increased since its conception in 1890s. The main objective of the game is to score more goals against the opposing team. Goals are counted when a team member positioned in the attacking shooting circle, shoots the ball through the goal ring. Players are assigned to specific positions to define their roles and to restrict their movements on the rectangular court. UNDERWATER HOCKEY An unfamiliar sport in the Philippines, underwater hockey is the same as the regular

hockey but played at the bottom of a swimming pool consisting of 10 players, with six members playing inside the game field and the other four acting as the substitutes that can either be decked in the pool, but outside the range of the field. The rules are almost the same as the other iteration of the game, with two teams maneuvering a puck across the bottom of the pool into the opposing team’s goal by propelling it with a hockey stick. ARNIS The national sport of the Philippines, Arnis involves weapon-based fighting technique with sticks, blades and various improvised weapons with “yantok” as the most commonly used item for demonstrations. Although in general, emphasis is put on weapons for these arts, some systems put empty hands or ‘open hand’ (or techniques without a weapon) as the primary focus and some old school systems do not teach weapons at all. This means Arnis also includes hand-to-hand combat, joint locks, grappling and weapondisarming techniques. JIU-JITSU Jiu-jitsu is a Japanese martial art and close combat for defeating a rival in which one uses a short-weapon or none at all. Developed way back during the feudal Japan era, the discipline behind jiu-jitsu uses your attacker’s energy against him rather than a direct hit. Now, practitioners learn that the most efficient methods for neutralizing an enemy is in the form of pins, joint locks, and throws. KICKBOXING A hybrid contact sport, Kickboxing permits the fighters to throw punches with gloves and the use of kicks with bare feet. While the sport also serves as a self-defense technique and general fitness, Kickboxing is making rounds as a staple in the mixed-martial-art scene. KURASH Kurash is one of the Turkic terms for ‘wrestling’ and this refers to a number of folk wrestling styles practiced in Central Asia. Kurash, one of the sports that debuted in the last Asian Games in Indonesia, is a traditional wrestling event that is highly popular in Central Asia. It was also a part of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in 2017, which took place in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. It featured a total of 15 events— seven men’s and eight women’s, with Uzbekistan winning nine golds. SAMBO Similar to wrestling, a sambo practitioner normally wears either a red or a blue competition

outfit. The kurtka (куртка) or sambovka (самбовка) as it is called, looks similar to a Judo gi top and belt, but has wrestling style shorts and shoes which match the uniform’s color. The sambo uniform does not reflect rank or competitive rating. LAWN BALL Bowls or lawn bowls is a sport in which the objective is to roll biased balls so that they stop close to a smaller ball called a ‘jack’ or ‘kitty.’ In Lawn Bowls’ singles, one of the two opponents flips a coin to see who wins the “mat” and begins a segment of the competition (in bowling parlance, an “end”) by placing the mat and rolling the jack to the other end of the green to serve as a target. Once it has come to rest, the jack is aligned to the center of the rink and the players take turns to roll their bowls from the mat towards the jack and thereby build up the “head.” Bowls is played in a usual positive note, with players acknowledging each other successes even on the highest professional level. PETANQUE Almost the same as lawn bowls, Petanque falls in the same category of boules sports, along with raffa, bocce, boule lyonnaise, lawn bowls and crown green bowling. Pétanque is played by two teams, where each team consists of one, two, or three players. In the singles and doubles games, each player plays with three metal boules. In triples, each player uses only two. All of these sports share something in common in that players or teams play their boules/balls towards a target ball. WAKEBOARDING Lastly, wakeboarding is a riding water sport, where a player performs stunts and mesmerizing tricks while being pulled by a speedboat. The participants perform different tricks and skills while being towed by a boat, on the basis of which, the participant is graded. The notion of being towed across water while standing on something like a monoski has existed for a long time, and surfers have used motorboats to be towed out to sea. Wakeboarding has been part of the World Games since 2001. Events are organized by the World Wakeboarding Association, founded in 1989. With these additional sports, can the Philippines pull off another miracle just like in 2005 and emerge victorious as the overall champion? It’s too early to tell, but let’s hope that we can live up the hype of this year’s Southeast Asian Games’ theme as #WeWinAsOne.


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How it all started By Angelica Villanueva PEOPLE across the globe have been counting the days before Christmas, but for the Southeast Asians, thrill and excitement have been filling their hearts with the coming of the most-awaited multisports event in the region. With the biennial sports event, aspiring athletes who want to bring pride and glory to their country have become successful in life. As the 30th Southeast Asian Games is about to begin next week, take a look back on how and where the games—and the dreams— started. WHERE DREAMS ARE MADE OF The inspiration for the games came from the mind of then-vice president of Thailand Olympic Committee Luang Sukhum Nayaoradit during the Asian Games in 1958 in Tokyo. He met with the other five country representatives of South East Asian Peninsula and together, they agreed to give the region its own sports event to promotes understanding, cooperation, stronger ties and relations

between the countries. The starting six that initialized the dreams of aspiring sports champions were Myanmar (Burma before), Cambodia (Kampuchea before), Laos, Malaysia (Malaya before), Thailand, and Vietnam. The founding members agreed to name the regional sports event as South East Asian Peninsular Games and conduct it biennially. It is described as a multi-sports event participated in by athletes from the six countries. ITS LOGO AND WHAT IT REPRESENTS The logo was first introduced in the 1959 SEA Games in Bangkok, Thailand—which was also the premiere of the sports event. It used to have six rings representing the founding members of the SEA Games. The first logo lasted for 38 years until countries Brunei, Philippines, and Indonesia joined in 1977 and Singapore in 1961, making the six rings into 10, representing the newly admitted countries in the Southeast Asian Games Federation. It was presented to the public during the 19th

SEA Games in Jakarta in 1997. In 2003, East Timor completed the list of Southeast Asian countries to participate in the sports event. During the 2011 SEA Games, again in Indonesia, the complete 11 rings in the logo was unveiled for the first time. RELIVING THE DREAM The organization decided to start the Southeast Asian Games Peninsular on the next year when it was founded. The first multi-sports event was held on the hometown of Luang Sukhum Nayaoradit—Bangkok, Thailand. From December 12 to 17, 1959, around 527 athletes and officials from Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Laos participated in 12 sports. Proclaimed as the first

country to win the overall title in the SEAP Games was Thailand. During the 1977 SEAP Games, the Southeast Asian Peninsular announced the changing of its name into Southeast Asian Games Federation, the same year that Brunei, Indonesia, and the Philippines officially joined

the SEA Games. To celebrate and commemorate its 50th year, the 25th SEA Games was held in Laos from December 9-18, 2009, which had declined to host the 1965 SEAP Games due to financial difficulties. East Timor entered the SEA Games Federation in the 22nd SEA Games. THE INCLUSION OF SPORTS IN THE SEA GAMES The organization created the SEAGF Charter and Rules to organize the qualifications of a sport to be included in the Southeast Asian Games. According to the Charter and Rules, the hosting country should conduct a minimum of 22 sports. These sports are categorized into three. Among these sports are the two compulsory sports in category one— athletics and aquatics; 14 sports in category two; and eight sports from category three. It is also stated that a sport must have a minimum of four countries competing to be in-

cluded in the sports event. More than that, SEA Games also prioritized sports included in the Olympic Games and Asian Games. The bests among the rest After Thailand hosted the games, it was followed by the hostings of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore. ’WE WIN AS ONE’ The 2019 Southeast Asian Games is upon us and many dreams are about to become realities. Behind each athlete is a nation cheering for his victorious win. We salute all the athletes and delegates competing in the SEA Games. Win or lose, we win as one.


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Renovation of Rizal Sports Complex, Philsports finished in record time I

N WHAT can be considered as a miracle of sorts, the Philippine Sports Commission has completed its renovations inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and PhilSports Complex in Pasig City in record time as they will host some of the sports for the 30th Southeast Asian Games.


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Seven out of 56 sports for the country’s hosting of the biennial meet will be played at the refurbished and leveled-up facilities in RMSC and PhilSports. The renovation of these Complexes were made possible by the P842-million donation of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation to the PSC and not part of the SEA Games budget. “This is a sporting heritage that will always remind us of the hardships, failures and victories of every Filipino athlete,” said Team Philippines Chef de Mission and PSC Chairman William Ramirez. The men’s football competitions kicked off at the newly restored RMSC Football Pitch five days ahead of the SEA Games opening ceremonies. The 6,000-seater Ninoy Aquino Stadium, which initially hosted the Team Philippines Send-Off ng Bayan last November 13, will be the playing venue for weightlifting and taekwondo competitions. The Rizal Memorial Coliseum is also now ready to welcome guests for gymnastics event after its full renovation that started last July. The RMSC Tennis Courts

will host the lawn tennis and soft tennis competitions while the indoor volleyball actions will take place at the newly-improved MultiPurpose Arena in PhilSports. “These restored facilities are not only for SEA Games but for Team Philippines so they can have a morale boosting inspiration that will eventually result to a leveled-up performance. This is not for PSC, this is for Team Philippines and our future generations,” said Ramirez. “We were on target,” said Ramirez. “We gave the people an assurance that we will finish the competition areas on top and our various teams in the PSC did their

jobs well. They delivered.” The Phisgoc (Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee) wanted all disciplines held at the Subic and Clark complexes, including the newly-built New Clark City, which is owned and managed by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority. “But several of their facilities were not up to IF (International Federation) standards. And since the PSCowned facilities have been used for international events may times in the past and have met the IF requirements, it was a no-brainer that some of the SEA Games events are hosted by our venues,” Ramirez said. “These are very old venues, we admit. But the history that wraps every leaves and grass around these facilities speak of the heroism of our athletes. We deemed it right to put the venues back in their original forms,” Ramirez added. While the Phisgoc is in charge of running the whole SEA Games affair, Ramirez made sure the training of the Filipino athletes competing in the biennial meet were funded well by the agency

Track and football field

Rizal Memorial Gymnastics Area

Tennis Center

tasked by government to look after their welfare. “We have spent more than a billion pesos for the athletes’ training alone. We are not looking just at the SEA Games, we are also funding their training for possible Olympic slots, in Tokyo and beyond,” Ramirez narrated. “The Pagcor aid was the biggest boost to our drive in rehabilitating our venues.

Pagcor Chairman Andrea Domingo made sure that money was spent well, wisely and prudently,” shared Ramirez. The PSC Chief said the agency will be a support group to the Phisgoc, the Philippine Olympic Committee and the various national sports associations under it in ensuring the country’s successful hosting of the Games. The Philippines last hosted the SEA Games in 2005—its third since the 1981 and 1991 Games, with Ramirez at the helm of its management. The Philippine Team won the overall championship of the biennial meet on that year. ICONIC COLISEUM NEWLY RESTORED FOR 30th SEAG. The newly restored coliseum and competition venues of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) will welcome participating athletes and fans for the football action between Philippines and Cambodia (8pm); and Malaysia and Myanmar (4pm) today, November 25. The major facelift comes 85 years after the sports facility was built in 1934. Other sports to be played at the iconic venue are Taekwondo, Tennis, Soft Tennis, Weightlifting, and Gymnastics.


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Philippines out to repeat ‘Miracle of 2005’ By Tim Obligacion

Long-jumper Marestella Torres, one of the participants in the Miracle of 2005.

WITH the 2019 Southeast Asian Games upon us, the biggest question every Filipino sports fan has asked is this: Can the “Miracle of 2005” happen again?

For the uninitiated, something special happened exactly 14 years ago when the Philippines last hosted the biennial sports event. Why “Miracle of 2005?” The Philippines may be the host when then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo officially declared the Games open, but the country still did the unthinkable by claiming the overall championship after amassing 113 golds, 84 silvers and 94 bronzes for a total of 291 medals. MAKE MOST OF ‘HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE’ As host, the Philippines took advantage of what “homecourt advantage” is all about by urging students and sports fans from all ages to watch the games live, even in events Filipinos are not familiar with. Former Philippine Olympic Committee Chairman Monico Puentevella, who was at the forefront of it all when the games were held in Manila in 2005, recalled the government and the organizers were on the same page in hosting the biennial meet, and the athletes responded to

the massive support they received by performing beyond their levels to win medals in front of their countrymen. As the current president of the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas, Puentevella believes that opening the Games’ events to the public for free will boost the athletes’ chances to claim golds, or any kind of medals possible. “Outside the opening and closing ceremonies and probably our national sport, basketball, it’s about time we made the tickets free in all the games before the official opening. I’m sure the President (Rodrigo Duterte) will approve this for the sake of the sport-loving masses,” he said. DOING THE UNTHINKABLE Another personality from the 2005 games who is back for the 2019 edition is current Philippine Sports Chairman

and Team Philippines chef de mission William “Butch” Ramirez, who recalled the athletes’ success was a breath of fresh air for Pinoy sports fans. “For nine days that year (2005), Filipinos were united by our athletes’ sporting achievement. We did it once, let’s do it again, for flag and country,” Ramirez said. “Nobody expected us to win in 2005, but we did.” Back then, social media was non-existent to be a powerful force for the socalled netizens to criticize the organizers’ misstep during preparations for the games. But Ramirez urged Filipino sports fans to get past the negativity and unite for the success of the Filipino athletes, some of whom trained for years and away from their families. “Let’s bring good news to everyone. We need it, all Filipinos need it,” Ramirez told Team Philippines

A total of 1462 medals, comprising 444 gold medals, 434 silver medals, and 584 bronze medals were awarded to athletes. The Host Philippines performance was its best ever yet in Southeast Asian Games history, emerged as overall champion of the games.

athletes. SPORTS A ‘STRONG UNIFIER’ Aside from providing Team Philippines all the funding and support they needed in the lead-up to the games, Ramirez also provided a taste of nostalgia in this year’s biennial event by making sure age-old sports venues get a new facelift and give

a sense of pride to Pinoy athletes. By completing a major rehabilitation of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, the Ninoy Aquino Stadium the Rizal Tennis Court and the Rizal Memorial Football Field, venues which also hosted several events in the 2005 Games, Ramirez offered Turn to Page 14


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30th SEA Games Special Issue

Passing the torch By Peter Paul Duran IN the 30 iterations of our region’s premier biennial meet, this will be the fourth time the Philippines will host the prestigious sporting event. The country has done the duty of welcoming athletes from 10 other countries in our shores starting in 1981, 1991, and 2005, and now, 14 years later, as host of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. And in the countless times still that our proud Filipino athletes waved the Philippine flag high both in our home soil and abroad every SEA Games, world-class Filipino talent was in the offing for our Southeast Asian brothers and sisters to see. To name only a few, may it serve justice to the countless hero athletes who have bannered the PH tricolors in the past, SEA Games legends in the likes of Paeng Nepomuceno, Alvin Patrimonio, Onyok Velasco, and Lydia De Vega have steered the country’s campaign for gold in their gargantuan ways in their respective sports. Now, a decade and a half since we last hosted the SEAG, and the last time we were hailed as the overall champion, we look at the budding stars poised to continue carrying the torch from these SEAG greats.

BOWLING FROM PAENG TO MERWIN TAN. Paeng has won the World Cup of Bowling four times (1976, 1980, 1992 and 1996). In SEAG 1981, he led a bowling squad that won 9 gold, 6 silver, and 4 bronze medals for the Philippines in Manila. Following his footsteps is young bowling prospect Merwin, who leads his sport’s Philippine contingent this coming 30th SEAG. The 19-year-old Marikina resident is already an international champion in countless tourneys and is bound to take the reins from legendary Paeng. BASKETBALL FROM ALVIN PATRIMONIO TO LA TENORIO. Who doesn’t know the Captain? The SEA Games Gold medalist for basketball is also one of the most decorated Philippine Basketball Association players of all time.

Now, “The Captain” makes one more “assist” when he passes the proverbial possession to the current “GINeral” of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel LA Tenorio, who will also lead the backcourt of our Gilas national team in a quest for another basketball gold at the biennial games.

BOXING FROM ONYOK VELASCO TO NESTHY PETECIO. Many of the millennials today may know Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco Jr. as the comedian and occasional actor from Bago City, Negros Occidental, Philippines. But the retired Filipino boxer is best known in the sports world as the country’s lone medal winner at the 1996 Olympics where he bagged the silver in the 48 kg category. The two-time SEAG gold medalist will now look to the future generation to surpass his valiant achievement in the sport. Enter Petecio, who ruled the featherweight division of the 2019 AIBA Women’sWorld Boxing Championships just last month and will look to dominate the field in her 2019 SEAG stint. ATHLETICS FROM LYDIA DE VEGA TO EJ OBIENA. Philippine Track and Field legend De Vega was Asia’s fastest woman for 8 years. Trailblazing since her first athletics triumph back in ’81, De Vega is a household name when it comes to her sport. EJ Obiena, the storied young pole vaulter, who is the first Filipino athlete to qualify for the upcoming To-

kyo 2020 Olympics, is now on the cusp of showing everybody that Philippine athletics is on the rise once more.


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30th SEA Games Special Issue

Miracle... From page 12

PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez (center) is shown with his commissioners (from left) Ramon Fernandez, Arnold Agustin, Celia Kiram and Charles Maxey.

We work as one By Paul David L. Gelario A MAJOR reason why the Philippine Sports Commission is clicking on all cylinders so to speak is its four commissioners, who know their roles by heart and collectively work as one for the sake of elite athletes and those from the grassroots level. The four commissioners are working under the chairmanship of William “Butch” Ramirez and began their office duties in 2016. Among the appointed commissioners is PBA legend Ramon Fernandez, a Philippine Basketball Association legend who led his teams in the pro league 19 times, won the MVP award four times, and selected in the PBA All Star six consecutive times. He is also a silver medalist in the Asian Games held in Beijing in 1990. In the PSA, Fernandez is known for his anti-corruption stance, mirroring President Rodrigo Duterte’s fight against graft in government. The three other commissioners are former Sunstar Sports Editor Charles Maxey, Celia Kiram, and Arnold Agustin. Maxey began his career in Davao in 1989 as a reporter and was then appointed by Duterte to cover sports. When his father, the former sports editor of SunStar retired in 2004, he succeeded his father’s duties. His concern is grassroots sports. Kiram is also Mindanao-born and champions women sports. Last January, she said that women’s inclination to sports such as martial arts is growing. “In my first year as PSC commissioner, there were only about 500 participants in the Women’s Martial Arts Festival,” Kiram said. “Last October, it ballooned to 1,600 when we hosted it at the Harrison Plaza. Now, we need a bigger venue despite our meager resources.” While Kiram focuses more on women, Agustin is inclined more on athletes with disabilities and developing their potential. In 2018, he lauded the para athletes after the Asian Para Games when they brought home 21 medals. “Alam namin na kaya niyong maka-gold. Last Paralympics, nagkaroon tayo ng silver. Last ASEAN Para Games, umakyat tayo from number seven to number five,” Arnold Agustin said. “That was a very good performance. Nu’ng 2014, nakakuha tayo ng lima na silver at lima na bronze.”

a connection to “millennial” sports fans, who now get to enjoy a sense of history by watching at state-of-theart facilities at a venue that survived the tests of time. “We plan to give these facilities, not just to the elite athletes, but to all athletes. That’s the very reason why we didn’t leave the Rizal Sports Complex because we feel the athletes here in Manila deserve this,” the PSC chief said. “Sports is a strong unifier, a strong equalizer for the country’s many problems. I hope we’ll perform the miracle of 2005 again,” he added. FROM LEGENDS TO RISING STARS Sure, the stars who provided the golden moments in the 2005 games have likely retired or have given way to the current batch of 2019 prospective medal finishers, but at least today’s current members of “Team Philippines” will learn a thing of two from their predecessors, who made the country proud 14 years ago. What also made the Philippines’ “Miracle of 2005” special was that the hosts won the overall title without the country’s most popular sport, basketball, in the games. Back then, organizers decided to shelve holding the men’s and women’s basketball competitions as the country was suspended by FIBA at the time. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, though, as Pinoy sports fans got to cheer their new sources of pride and inspiration in other sports. Bowling, which Filipinos casually play as a hobby but not popular as a sport, provided big crowds back in 2005, which the national men’s and women’s bowlers reciprocated by winning the overall title on the strength of four golds and six silvers for 10 total medals to beat traditional regional bowling powers Malaysia (3-3-3) and Indonesia (3-0-4). Billiards also got a lion’s share of hoop crowds going to their games and fans were not disappointed after the Filipino cue artists also took the overall title with an 8-2-1 gold-

Rubilen Amit

ONE Championship veteran Rene Catalan won in sansou during the 2005 SEAG.

silver-medal haul for 11 total medals. The likes of Filipino-Canadian Alex Pagulayan, Lee Vann Corteza, Antonio Gabica, Dennis Orcullo and Ronato Alcano among the men and Rubilen Amit became household names for their exploits in the billiards table, something this year’s billiards and snooker teams hope to replicate their success before their compatriots. Archery also stepped up back in the day, with the hosts edging Malaysia for the overall title due to the number of overall medals (7-6) even if both countries claimed three golds each. The Philippines may have settled for second behind Thailand in athletics 14 years ago, but the hosts’ 29 overall medals on the strength of 9-11-9 haul made fans remember the golden exploits of Jimar Aing and Ernie Candelario, who were 1-2 in the men’s 400m event; Rene Herrera in the 3,000m steeplechase; Arriel Ferrera in the hammer throw and Danilo Fresnido in the javelin throw. HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL The names of the athletes may have changed, the game have become faster and more sophisticated, and the competition grows tougher every year. But if Team Philippines believes they can win, the “Miracle of 2005” remains possible. Some sports officials who were there in 2005 and are still on the lead in 2019 have seen it all, and the likes of Puentevella and Ramirez still have faith in the athletes. If the stars align and with strokes of luck, the hosts may even match or top the 291 medals the country got. Whether the athletes win the overall championship or not, Filipinos should unite and “win as one” in these year’s games and the support to Team Philippines’ athletes should never stop, win or lose. The names of some of the athletes who provided the 113 golds may fade in young sports fans’ minds in the next few years. But their golden exploits will forever be etched in Philippine sports’ history and for the current batch of athletes to gain inspiration from and become the country’s new sports idols and role models in the years to come.


29 November-6 December 2019

30th SEA Games Special Issue

PSC: Bringing sports closer to Filipinos WHILE keeping its commitment to make the 30th Southeast Asian Games a success, the Philippine Sports Commission retained and even exceeded its support to grassroots sports development in adherence to President Rodrigo Duterte’s vow of bringing sports closer to his people. The government has spent more than P500 million for sports development in the country in 2018 and the first half of 2019 alone, even as it continues to provide more as the year nears its last month and with the SEA Games, which the country is hosting just days away. PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez said that almost P340 million was spent on various grassroots programs catering to all sectors in the country worthy of sports access and services in 2018 alone. From January to June of 2019, meanwhile, an additional funding of P170 million was shelled out by the PSC continuing its mandate to make sports accessible to all. “It is government’s commitment, as mandated to the PSC by President Duterte, to keep the people actively involved in sports. From children to citizens as old as I am, we all should have our own access to sports as the President and most members of his Cabinet do and have, from time to time,” Ramirez said. “It is for these projects that the PSC, through the very generous support of the PAGCOR and its

These young children seem determined to learn during the volleyball clinic conducted on the side of the Unescocited Philippine Sports Commission Children’s Games held at Holy Cross of Caburan in Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental on November 9. chairman, Ms. Andrea Domingo, rehabilitated its major facilities, which by coincidence, will now also be used for the SEA Games after the Phisgoc had initially

attempted to bring all the major sports in Clark and Subic,” Ramirez said. “The PSC venues will be available in time for the SEA Games as they will be available ahead of the other grassroots and elite sports programs the agency has for next year. The PSC’s holistic sports programs will be more active starting this month with these newly-refurbished facilities.” The PSC’s premier programs such as the Batang Pinoy —the national competition where budding local talents below 15 years old are discovered and honed, received P220 million in less than two years. This year, the PSC spent P154 million for the program. The Children’s Games, the agency’s ongoing project in the Mindanao region which started in 2017 and has catered to over 24,000 children to date, received an additional P7.5 million for the earlier part of 2019 on top of the P33 million spent for it in 2018. Over 30 Children’s Games and Consultative Planning and Coaches seminars had been conducted and more are set to take place. The war-ravaged and hard-to-reach areas of Marawi, Compostela Valley, Davao region and Misamis Occidental became the areas of concern for the CG efforts this year, as President Duterte has given these places his special concern.

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Manila Standard 30th SEA Games Special  

30th SEA Games Special Issue - Lets win a ton

Manila Standard 30th SEA Games Special  

30th SEA Games Special Issue - Lets win a ton