Mendoza: Officials make cheating legal in SEA Games

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By Al S. Mendoza

All Write

Friday, December 20, 2013

OUR female swimmer won the gold. Next, the medal was recalled.

False start, the hosts said.

In the re-swim, our bet finished third. Bronze.

Our male boxer was pummeling his foe when, with the suddenness of a bolt of lightning, the referee stopped the carnage.

The ring doctor checked on of the battered boxer.

“It’s a serious injury,” the doctor said. “Stop the fight.”

The referee promptly declared the beaten and, yes, bewildered boxer the winner.

When we checked, what we saw was not a serious cut but a mere scratch over the boxer’s eye brow.

We protested.

It was denied.

So, we won three boxing gold medals when it should have been six. Easily.

Cheating? The host country cheated?

Cut the crap.

In the SEA Games, cheating is more of the norm than the exception.

In fact, even before the biennial Games begin, cheating is already in place.

It is like this.

The host country is allowed to choose the games to be played. Naturally, it chooses disciplines it can, hopes to, dominate.

The 10 countries in the ongoing 11-country Games can object. But that’s the most they can do.

Once the host country, this time Myanmar, thumbs down the protest, that’s it—the Games will proceed unimpeded.

In short, the host has a latitude as vast and as wide as the Pacific Ocean when it comes to choosing events to be staged.

If that’s not legalized cheating, I don’t know what is.

We are presently No. 7 as I write this, with Thailand ahead followed by Vietnam at second and Myanmar third.

If we finish sixth and overtake sixth-running Singapore, will that make us happy?

“I don’t care,” said Peping Cojuangco, our Olympic president. “I’d rather that I see our athletes finish last with a clear conscience than see them win medals through cheating.”

In Thailand a while back, we had nine boxers in the finals against nine Thais.

We lost eight and won one. Just one.

No, athletes don’t cheat. It’s usually their officials who do the cheating.

Referees become tools, too, to legalize the crime.

Athletes cry foul. Officials look the other way.

And we love to call it fostering friendship through sports.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 21, 2013.


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