Thursday, September 20, 2018

Limpag: The missing medals

THE Philippine National Games secretariat took its sweet time in releasing the final medal tally, giving it 10 days after the event ended on May 25.

Yet, despite its final medal tally getting pored over over the weekend--per PSC secretariat’s excuse--before they released their final, final medal tally, there were still some questions regarding the final count.

I guess it’s safe to say that doubts have been erased because there was no change in the rankings between Thursday’s tally and Monday’s tally, with Cebu Province safely in fifth place. Had Cebu Province been dropped, all hell would have broken loose, because being out of the top five means being out of the prize money list, and P2 million isn’t a small amount.

The question on the final PSC tally is the number of gold medals attributed to Cebu City. It’s 48 in the official list, while Cebu City’s own unofficial tally has them winning 52 golds. It’s very easy to tally how many gold medals you have; all you have to do is list them down per event.

The missing four gold medals are important because of what Mayor Tommy Osmeña ordered a few days ago, to split the P5 million among the medalists, since basically it’s because of them that Cebu City got the P10-million top prize.

I did some simple calculations. If Cebu City hands out P50,000 per gold medalist, it will still have some P2.4 million to spare for the silver and bronze medalists. But the problem now is, which number of gold medals should Cebu City follow? Their own count or PSC’s count? I think the simplest way to solve this issue is for the PSC to hand out a breakdown of the gold medals of the top five teams, or if they’re willing to just do it for Cebu City, then much better.

What is important, though, is the breakdown, so there won’t be any complaints if a medalist won’t receive his or her share of the reward, which at P5 million total, is going to be the biggest in the history of cash incentives in Cebu City.

Aside from the medalists, I hope the Cebu City Sports Commission also considers giving the coaches a share of the prize money. They may not have won a medal but their contribution to Cebu City finishing No. 1 is huge, too.

By the way, I hope in next year’s edition, the tallying of the medals will be more transparent and quick. If the PSC will continue this practice of awarding cash prizes to the top five, it has to be quick and transparent to erase doubts. It’s good that this year, Mandaue City, which was at No. 5 last May 25 and at No. 6 last May 31, hasn’t questioned its drop out of the money zone.

SRP. Mayor Osmeña is planning to spend the other half of the cash prize for the sports facility in the SRP and I hope that this time it will finally come true. They’ve been talking about that facility ever since this year’s incoming freshmen were five-year-olds and I hope they get to see it finished before they finish college.

A sports facility in the SRP, including a skatepark as what Mayor Tommy has planned, will benefit not only the athletes but all Cebuanos. People automatically think of athletes when they read or hear about a facility, but it could also be just a place for a family to relax, have fun, and unwind.

It doesn’t have to be exclusively for athletes only.