MANILA -- The Timor Leste delegates are overwhelmed by the support of Filipinos who are cheering them on via social media to win their first medal in the ongoing 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. But the support did not stop from social media posts, which became trending on Twitter, as the Philippine government, through the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), hosted about 54 Timor Leste athletes, coaches and officials at the PhilSports Complex, providing them free board and lodging.
The last batch of Timor Leste delegation, its taekwondo and karatedo teams, checked out from the PhilSports dormitory Thursday, December 5, thankful for the gracious accommodation and the friendly staff.
They will transfer nearer to the playing venues of their sports.
“We are glad to be here. Thank you Philippine Government. I hope one day you (Filipinos) would also come visit our country,” Alexandrino da Costa, an official of their taekwondo federation, told SunStar Davao after taking their breakfast and on the sidelines of their team meeting.
He said that it warms their hearts that Filipinos also are eager to see them win their first medal in the biennial meet here.
Da Costa said that Filipinos have put the Games’ theme, “We Win As One” to heart.
“It’s not about just winning but how we can make friendly relations between our countries through sports,” he said, thankful for the accommodation and food that were provided for them during their stay at PhilSports.
Taekwondo jin Jennifer Lay, who is competing in her first SEA Games, for her part, said: “I think it’s wonderful that they are cheering for Timor Leste as well as Philippines. I think the people here are really nice and very welcoming. They make us feel very comfortable and we’re very happy to be here.”
She also cited their accommodation as the dormitory is convenient for them since the dormitory is just a walking distance from shopping centers and that there are so many security guards.
She also said, “We feel very safe. The food? It’s delicious and very good. The people here are so nice. We will miss them very much.”
Lay also lauded the opening rites at the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena in Bulacan. “It’s beyond my expectations, the opening was so amazing. It was exciting to also see Manny Pacquiao. We are his big fans. I took lots of videos and sent them to my friends to show them how impressive it was,” she added.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner Charles Raymond A. Maxey on Wednesday told Mindanao sports scribes that he’s happy with the gesture of Filipinos toward Timor Leste.
“SEA Games is not about winning medals but winning friendship. I’m happy that Filipinos are cheering for Timor Leste to win a medal,” the Dabawenyo commissioner said.
He also thanked Timor Leste, on behalf of PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez for participating in the Games.
“We want to see them win a medal,” Maxey said.
While Philippines is currently on top of the medal tally in the 11-nation meet with 57 gold medals, 43 silvers and 24 bronzes as of 3 p.m. yesterday, Timor Leste was at the bottom with zero medal.