Deep in his heart, the head of the Philippine Sports Commission knows he needs the full backing of the National Sports Associations to insure the success of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
And so far, Ramirez is getting what it wants—utmost cooperation and support from the NSAs.
“During our meeting with the different NSAs, everybody is preparing for the Southeast Asian Games,” Ramirez told sportswriters covering the PSC-POC beat recentlyt.
“Some of them encounter problems like disputes, but they assured they are focused on giving the country a successful hosting,” added Ramirez, a smile on his face as he recounted his meeting with the NSA heads and representatives.
Ramirez co-chairs the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) with Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas and former Foreign Affairs secretary Allan Peter Cayetano.
The country has allotted more than seven billion for the SEA Games, which is expected to go down in the history of the biennial meet as the biggest and most expensive ever.
There are 520 events from 56 sports to be disputed in the meet set Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, including some which Filipinos fans never heard of.
This marks the fourth time the country will host the biennial meet, the last in 2005 when the Filipinos captured the overall championship with a staggering total of 112 gold, 85 silver and 93 bronze medals.
Thailand, the perennial overall champ, settled for second place with medal harvest of 87-79-117 with Vietnam taking third place with a 71-71-89 tally.
Pundits believe the country has an excellent chance of repeating that feat given the fact we are hosting the two-week long. Almost always, host countries get to win the overall title, the last being Malaysia in 2017.
Ramirez concerns like equipments are now being addressed.
“We are aware of that. How can you proceed with the hosting if there are no equipment,” he said.
Meanwhile, Vargas met with Philippine Swimming Institute (PSI) president Lani Velasco recently to thresh out issues involving tryouts for the national swimming team to the SEA Games.
Also present was POC Membership Committee Chairman Robert Bachmann, who facilitated the meeting.
Several swimming groups had earlier expressed their concern about swimmers not being allowed to try out for the team since they are not members of PSI.
Former national swimmers Eric Buhain, Ral Rosario and Susan Papa, among others, have indicated that they will do separate tryouts in their respective groups and let the time results of the swimmers reveal who are deserving to be in the team.
“Obviously we should have the best athletes available to us for the SEA Games. That’s why we have always stressed inclusivity in these matters,” Vargas said.
While the POC will only recognize the PSI tryout results because it is the recognized association by the international swimming federation (FINA), both Vargas and Velasco agreed that the tryouts will be open and inclusive to all clubs under FINA rules and guidelines.
Velasco said they will be lenient in allowing participation and registration of those who are not yet members of the PSI.
“I will even personally assist non-PSI members with their membership applications,” said Velasco.