WHILE it may be true that we had a bit of an undue advantage leading to our virtual victory in the about-to-end 30th Southeast Asian Games, it cannot be denied that our overwhelming victories in many of the record 56 events contested were a result of the twin secrets of success: money and will.
As host, we virtually own the exclusive control of which events to play in the almost two-week meet—a rule adopted since the Games’ birth in 1959.
Many outsiders may find that eerie but then, since every member-nation of the Games’ enclave agrees to it, the hell with logic.
In fairness, we backed up our advantage with a stash of cash, a resolve to repeat our 2005 victory and a gambit to reappoint the same man that architected our breakthrough win of 14 years ago.
The money came in the form of a whopping P1 billion spent in 2018 to ensure the smooth and unimpeded training of our athletes, both home-based and those stationed abroad like gymnast Carlos Yulo.
Yulo, a multiple gold medalist in the Games after his spectacular world championship victory in Stuttgart, Germany, in October, has been based in Japan for the last five years—a result of the generous outpouring of moolah for his training coming basically from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) through its chairman, William “Butch” Ramirez.
It was then fitting enough—an extremely poignant sight, yes—to see Ramirez hang the gold medal on Yulo’s neck the first time Yulo won his first SEAG gold on Dec. 1—the all-around event.
And with a world-class Japanese coach handling Yulo’s career, the 19-year-old Pasay pride has become a strong candidate to end our 95-year-old Olympic gold drought in 2020 Tokyo.
With a sports official like Ramirez, whose reputation to put his heart wholeheartedly to the task at hand has become legend, becoming the country’s chef de mission anew, the prospects in Tokyo look bright as ever.
Indeed, money and will are like horse and carriage. They are inutile without the other.