Limpag: Get your acts together, Asean

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Sunday, December 22, 2013


AS MUCH as the Filipino sports fans are disgusted with how POC chairman Peping Cojuangco conducted himself prior the Southeast Asian Games, I think it's about time the whole country—critics included—back him up should he push through with the move to reform the Southeast Asian Games.

Peping said he will raise the issue of how Myanmar is hosting the games with the Olympic Council of Asia and I hope something concrete comes out of that, before the 2015 edition comes along.

The SEA Games has become a farce because of the power of the hosts has over how the games should be conducted, especially on which event should be included.

Because of that, countries that languish in the bottom of the medal tally can now brag to their citizens at home they have a chance of winning the overall medal tally by including sport that only they and their uncles know. And, because of that chase for the overall title, winning becomes the only option.

And that chase of the overall tally may lead some home officials to push really hard to win, not only the indigenous sports, but in other sports as well.

Take the latest farce in the SEA Games. In Muay Thai, a Filipino bet sent his Myanmar foe to the finals four times and predictably lost the gold medal.

But enough is enough.

It's time to get the SEA Games back on track and if it's Peping who must take the lead, so we shall back him.

How to make the SEA Games relevant again? Well, for starters, include only the Olympic events in the calender because isn't that one of the reasons they decided to hold the games in the first place? To prepare Asean bets for the Olympics by giving them a level competition field?

Of course, there are sports that are known only to the Asean region and yes we should include that as well, sports like muay thai or sepak takraw, but these are events that have been played before the farce that is the SEA Games went full blast in the Myanmar edition.

In the Singapore edition, it should be the Olympic sports and if there should be anything added, it should be just one or at most, two. But these should be just demo sports and shouldn't be part of the medal tally.

Because if the Asean sports heads handling the SEA Games can’t get their acts together, we might as well skip the event altogether.

It’s not worth the trouble.

FOOTBALL IN 2015. The next SEA Games is what the then ambitious Center for Excellence program targeted when it was launched in 2005. That program was supposed to train the best young footballers in the country with the goal of winning the country’s first gold medal in the SEA Games football in 2015.

That 10-year-program never got off, even on its first year.

I wonder where those kids are now.

But sans the CFE program, and if 2015 comes, do we have a chance to achieve anything if we send a football team?

Perhaps we can make the semifinals for the first time in 24 years, or if we get really lucky, land a medal.

The early preparations for this year’s botched SEA Games participation had promising results. Given a much earlier start and better preparation for 2015, who knows?

That and the changes to the rules governing the SEA Games is what I’m looking forward to in 2015.

(mikelimpag@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 23, 2013.

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