With all their hearts out to egg on the glory of bringing home notable honors for the rooted native land, Southeast Asian countries were closing in on the edge of the competition’s conclusion.
The 26th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Indonesia has begun from November 11 to November 22 of this year. It has been hosted in two cities of Palembang and Jakarta with 542 gold medals that have been competed through 44 sports.
Filipino athletes, led by veteran leaper Marestella Torres, the gutsytaekwondo trio of Janice Lagman, Rani Ann Ortega, and Camille Alarilla, along with rookie jin Camille Manalo, delivered a hot and blistering start with remarkable three golds, as women power fueled the Philippine drive in Indonesia SEA Games last November 12. Meanwhile, dark horse Iris Ranola also placed her name in the gold medal race as she ended her billiard campaign triumphant over humbling teammate Rubilen Amit, 7-2, for the 9-ball title last November 17. And last November 20, men’s and women’s basketball team were able to bag gold and silver after facing Thailand basketball quintets. The Sinag Pilipinas, headed by team captain Chris Tiu, walloped the Thai men’s team while their counterpart, the Perlas Pilipinas was trounced by Thai women’s team in a pulsating overtime.
As of press time, the Philippine delegation has already garnered 36 golds, 56 silvers, and 77 bronzes in 26th SEA Games which primarily consist of taekwondo, athletics, swimming, cycling, tennis, basketball, boxing, equestrian, and so on. This put the local team in 6th place behind the leading host country Indonesia, followed by Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore.
A brief history…
Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) was established upon the agreement of delegates from the countries in Southeast Asian peninsula through the 3rd Asian Games held in Tokyo, Japan on May 22, 1958. SEA Games owes its origins to the Southeast Asian Peninsular Games (SEAP Games). SEA Games is organized every two years and regulated by the Southeast Asian Games Federation with the supervision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia.
The founding members of this sports organization were Thailand, Burma (now Myanmar), Malaya (now Malaysia), Laos, South Vietnam, and Cambodia (with Singapore included thereafter). At present, SEA Games has a total of 11 members which are the Philippines (1977), Indonesia (1977), Brunei (1977), and Timor Leste (2003).
Issues at stake…
The 26th SEA Games eventually has been dominated by the host country Indonesia. It has a sum total of 182 golds, 151 silvers, and 142 bronzes so far. This medal tally only explains how powerful the organizing host country is. Fact that the games are distinctive because there are no official limits to the number of sports which may be disputed, and the range may be decided by the host with the pending sanction of SEA Games Federation. In addition, the host is also free to drop or introduce other sports which can obviously capitalize on their medal hauls. It is not unfair after all because it is considered as a typical strategy planned and done by every host country.
Some examples of these are when Malaysia introduced lawn bowls, netball, “petangue” at the 2001 SEA Games, Vietnam added fin swimming and shuttlecock at the 2003 SEA Games, even the Philippines in the 2005 SEA Games added “arnis,” Thailand in 2007 SEA Games added some new categories of “sepak takraw” and used a new kind of ball that had been used by their athletes for a year while other countries had never used it before. Lastly, Indonesia dropped the team events in table tennis and shrunk the shooting events to just 14 golds from 19 in 2009 and 33 in 2007. Also, Bridge, Paragliding, Wall climbing, “Kenpō,” and “Vovinam,” were introduced for the first time.
Indonesia still holds the top spot in the history of SEA Games since 1977-present. This country has been a nine-time over-all SEA Games champion, a two-time first runner up and a four-time second runner up. Next to it is Thailand with a record of five-time over-all champion and ranked third is the Philippines. Philippines has been a one-time over-all champion, twice a first runner up and a six-time second runner up. That lone brilliant finish of our country took place in Manila SEA Games six years ago. Yes! It happened in our borders.
Now, why Indonesia leads this historical race? It is simply because they experienced to host SEA Games four times (1979, 1987, 1997, and 2011) and counting. And so, this country has mastered the strategy of adding and dropping sports events for the benefit of winning.
To wrap these things up, no one can tell the exact fate certain for our very own delegation. Accept it or not, their performance was not enough to score another glorious victory for the Philippines. But still, they remained optimistic and tough towards challenges. Let us thank them for another splendid job. Through thick and thin, they still make us proud of.
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Photos retrieved from http://www.google.com on November 19, 2011.