Davao divers to miss Myanmar 26th SEAGames

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013


WHILE the bulk of the Philippine delegation is set to depart for the 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar today, Wednesday, Davao City divers will just be staying behind and wait for their competition next year.

The national diving team, composed mainly of Dabawenyos from Sasa and Panacan, was not included in the final roster of Team Pilipinas to the biennial meet.

Be-medaled Sheila Mae Perez, in a Facebook chat interview, said officials may have decided to exclude the diving team from the country's Myanmar-bound delegation since, "Wala man gud nadayon among training sa China. Mao nalang ungta among chance (Our supposed training in China didn't materialize. It would have been our only chance to make it in the SEA Games)."

She also said there were other reasons that diving officials cited behind their non-participation in the Games.

"Guba daw ang trampoline, daghan problema kuno (Our trampoline was not functional among any other problems)," she said.

The trampoline is vital in their training even if they just do their SEA Games preparations at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

Perez, who salvaged a bronze in the 26th edition of the meet in Palembang, Indonesia in 2001, however, expressed her disappointment, saying, "Sayang lang talaga wala tayong representative sa diving. Nakakalungkot nga naman kasi every SEA Games hindi naman kami nag zero, nag-cocontribute pa rin kami ng medal kahit na anong mangyari. Pero kung ano sa palagay ng mga leaders namin na makakabuti sa amin, go nalang din kami."

Perez, along with Dabawenyos Jaime Asok, Rexel Ryan Fabriga, Nino Carog, Ceseil Domenios and Zardo Domenios, has given the country gold, silver and bronze medals in previous holding of the Games.

From their sterling finishes in 2005 and 2007, divers' performances slumped in 2009 and 2011, having been denied even a single gold.

Chinese coach Zhang Dehu was instrumental to bringing the country's diving team to the peak of excellence way back then but since he no longer stays with the team in Manila, the nationals were left to fend for themselves with a Filipino coach. Dehu lent his expertise to the team until the 2011 Indonesia SEA Games.

It's unfortunate that the already damaged morale of the divers absorbed another blow since their monthly allowances were cut off.

Perez said Asok was forced to quit the team last year when his P15,000 monthly stipend was reduced to P10,000. Perez and Fabriga, being elite athletes who have been to the Olympics, usually receives P20,000.

"Nagulat nalang kami naging P10,000 nalang allowance namin ni Ryan. Dinaig pa kami ng training pool. Ni walang memo na dumating na bababaan ang allowance namin. Nagtanong-tanong kami wala ring matinong sagot," Perez said.

She went on saying that most athletes have lost their zeal, "walang kabuhay-buhay din ang ibang athletes dito, kawawa talaga pero kami tiis lang talaga."

Most divers, meanwhile, have also ventured into cliff diving. They will compete in a cliff diving event in April.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 04, 2013.

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