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Trillanes to probe SEAG debacle

/ 07:15 AM November 22, 2011

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has invited top officials of the Philippine Sports Commission, the Philippine Olympic Committee and heads of national sports associations to a Senate hearing on Dec. 5 to shed light on the sixth-place finish of Team Philippines in the 26th Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia.

The country’s athletes will bring home a total of 27 gold, 52 silver and 73 bronze medals after Tuesday’s closing ceremony marking the end of the two-week competition among 11 countries held in the cities of Palembang and Jakarta.

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“It’s a call for sports leaders to explain their flawed sports program,” said Trillanes, the newly installed table tennis chief. “The very dismal finish in the SEA Games is the ultimate manifestation of our (PH sports’) sad state,” he added.

Before leaving for the Games, the PSC and the POC had predicted a harvest of 70 gold medals from 512 athletes in 39 sports to improve on the country’s fifth-place finish in Laos in 2009 with the PSC spending at least P30 million for their participation.

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“It means one gold medal in the SEA Games is worth more than a million pesos. Unbelievable,” said Trillanes.

He blamed politics as the culprit for the country’s diminishing stature in the SEA Games and officials “whose objective is to perpetuate themselves in power.”

Trillanes was recently elected president of the Table Tennis Association of the Philippines, along with businessman Jay Omila as chair, but the POC has refused to recognize their election.

“Politics has destroyed sports,” said Trillanes. “These officials forgot that their basic mandate is to promote sports excellence in the country.”

After bagging the overall crown in 2005 SEAG Manila, the Philippines finished sixth in 2007 in Thailand with a collection of 41 gold, 91 silver and 96 bronze medals in 43 sports. The country finished fifth in 2009 in Laos with a 38-35-51 medal harvest in just 25 sports despite a rift between the POC and PSC that drove a wedge in the preparation of the athletes. /INQUIRER

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TAGS: 26th Southeast Asian Games, Antonio Trillanes IV, athletes, sports events
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