4 PH concludes 2017 SEA Games campaign with paltry 24-gold medal haul
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 30) — In an optimistic buildup to the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, sports officials set a goal: at least 50 gold medals from the Philippine delegation to Kuala Lumpur.
But with the dust finally settling on the 11-day competition covering 38 sports and participated in by 11 countries, reality bit. The Philippines failed to reach even the halfway mark of their ambitious target.
The 2017 SEA Games marks the Philippines’ worst showing in the biennial meet since the 1999 edition of the games in Brunei, which brought in a haul of only 20 gold medals. It was short of five golds this year compared to 29 in the 2015 games in Singapore. The country’s highest gold count after hosting the games in 2005 was 38 in 2009 in Vientiane, Laos.
The country’s chef de mission to the SEA Games, Cynthia Carrion, told CNN Philippines’ Sports Desk that the 50-gold forecast was a form of motivation for the Filipino athletes.
“The reason I said ’50 golds’ was I wanted to motivate our athletes to try to have that 50 golds. Unfortunately, Malaysia was very prepared and you see all these silvers that we got (were against) Malaysia,” said Carrion.
She added that the various national sports association presidents and team managers committed a total of 63 gold medals before the games.
Carrion shared a list of sports that promised gold, reflecting officials’ optimism.
Host nation Malaysia finished on top of the standings. Some Philippine officials said that the sports’ schedules favored the hosts and was disadvantageous to Philippine athletes.
An example cited was the short amount of rest given to Filipino track star Eric Cray between two events he hoped to score gold in, the 100m and 400m hurdles, despite appeals from the Philippine athletic body to space out the competitions.
The absence of events such as women’s weighlifting and women’s boxing, which the Philippines typically finds success in, also dented the Filipinos’ chances in the games.
With the Philippines as the host of the 30th SEA Games in 2019, our athletes may find motivation to display improved performances and go for more golds before a home crowd.