With over a hundred golds to show on Sunday, the Philippines is virtually assured of the overall title in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
But while the Philippines is two days away from repeating the “Miracle of 2005”, Philippine Sports Commission chairman and chef de mission William ‘’Butch’’ Ramirez said the biennial games also showed what unity can do to a country burdened by negativity and various differences.
Ramirez, also the chef de mission, when the Philippines took the overall title in 2005, said the sense of patriotism among the Filipinos was awakened by the SEA Games. Filipinos from all walks of life passionately cheered the nationals, win or lose. The cheering, of course, was heard round the country.
“Almost to the final stretch, and I am grateful to God for the steady performance of our team. More than the medal haul, I am thankful for all the sacrifice and hard work that went behind pushing their chances for a shining moment of victory. However, I mean to train the light on the stories beyond these victories. The stories that teach us all lessons, as a sporting community, as a people and as a nation,’’ said Ramirez in his message.
As of this writing, the Philippines is the runaway leader in the overall medal tally, some 30-plus golds ahead of its “closest” pursuer in Indonesia.
Under Ramirez, the PSC continues to focus on the grassroots, but the agency’s heartfelt support to the athletes has resulted to a robust delegation bursting with pride, talent and dedication as can be gleaned by the results.
‘‘Having the privilege of being both the PSC Chairman and the Chef de Mission, I am witness to the many beautiful stories behind this event, and given a glimpse into the legacies that the SEAG will leave. The gains from this event does not end when the curtains comes down on the 30th SEAG edition. On top of the victories, there are many long-term advantages — legacies — the SEAG gifted us with,’’ said Ramirez, who added that after the SEAG, the country will have the wide pool of new athletes eyeing to become the next Watanabe, Didal, Obiena, Yulo, Diaz, and other world-class Pinoy athletes.
He also praised the volunteers for their efforts.
“Sports instills values like discipline, dedication and respect for others –values needed for a healthier society — a mandate of the PSC. It awakened the bayanihan spirit and volunteerism among us. The very spirit shown by the heroism of Roger Casugay who gave up his chance for a golden finish to save an opponent at risk of losing his life to the very waves they play in. Truly a class act, a solid show of Filipino spirit.’’
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