The Philippine team to the Myanmar (Burma) Southeast Asian Games this December is down to 130 with the exclusion of football and futsal bets from an initial list of 200 athletes.
Philippine chef de mission Jeff Tamayo yesterday said the latest figure was a result of a decision by Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. and Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia to strictly follow the criteria that allows the inclusion of only the gold medalists in the previous SEA Games and potential gold performers in the national delegation to the Dec. 11-22 biennial meet.
“They’re gone,” said Tamayo, referring to futsal and football, which wanted to send its men’s and women’s team even if it means funding its own participation.
“Cong. Peping and chair Richie are really pushing for a small delegation. We’re now in the process of scrutinizing the list and include only those who are really worthy of going to Myanmar (Burma),” said the POC second vice president.
Aside from individual athletes, Tamayo said only men’s basketball and the 30-man dragon boat squad passed the standard.
Tamayo said Filipino athletes will now compete in 20 of the 33 sports (460 events) at the most with medal-rich events such as swimming and shooting failing to submit their candidate athletes.
“We’re carefully evaluating who should go and who should stay. There will more be changes in the lineup as the SEA Games draws near,” said Tamayo, the soft tennis chief who heads the Philippine SEAG task force.
Wushu and chess have earlier sent word that they’re skipping the games as a sign of protest against Burma organizers, who had blatantly removed several Olympic sports and put indigenous disciplines to beef up their chances of winning gold medals.
They also added several events that Filipino athletes hardly know—14 in chess and seven in dragon boat apart from over 40 gold medals at stake in ethnic disciplines.
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