by Waylon Galvez
Philippine Sports Commission (SPC) chairman William “Butch” Ramirez revealed that the international training of athletes for the Southeast Asian Games will start in January.
“We will see a lot of foreign exposure for our athletes in the first six months of 2019,” said Ramirez, adding that the PSC has already set aside P600 million for the foreign trips.
The country will host the SEA Games for the fourth time, the first since the 2005 Manila SEA Games. The biennial meet was also held here back in 1981 and 1991.
A countdown led by PSC and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) officials already started last week.
Ramirez said that foreign exposure is critical for Filipino athletes since the country will be aiming for the overall title. This last happened in 2005 when the national team won a total of 112 gold, 85 silver, and 93 bronze medals.
After the meeting of the Southeast Asian Games Federation Council last month, approved were 56 sports disciplines with 529 events. However, these will be finalized again in another meeting set for December 15.
Ramirez said that while training of athletes is crucial for the campaign, peace, and unity among sports officials is equally important. He encourages the POC top brass and the SEAG organizing committee, led by its chairman Alan Peter Cayetano, to work together.
“It’s time for us to unite if we want to be champion again in the Southeast Asian Games after 28 years,” Ramirez said.