By Jerome S. Galunan Jr.
If Malaysia, this year’s host of the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG), will serve as the benchmark for the 2019 hosting of the games, then it will take a lot of tough and serious efforts to be at least closer to Kuala Lumpur’s standard.
This was stressed yesterday by Weightlifting Association of the Philippines president Monico Puentevella, who was a PSC Commissioner when the country hosted the SEAG in 2005.
“Hosting the games two years from now will be a gigantic task. Malaysia has prepared well way ahead by building infrastructures,” Puentevella said.
The former Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) chairman said it is impossible to host a huge event without government’s backing.
“In 2005, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo almost canceled the games if not with our intervention. And thank God, Bacolod City played an important role in that SEA Games. And who knows, maybe Bacolod will never see those games in their lifetime ever again,” he added.
The weightlifting chief is also looking at Indonesia to possibly bid to host the SEAG in the near future following next year’s Asian Games’ hosting.
“They have given a lot of emphasis on sports development. And now they are reaping its fruits. President (Rodrigo) Duterte has five more years to go and I hope this administration will also follow the same, if not on better direction. Our younger generation needs to hug this patriotic spirit. It’s the spirit not only to win but to unite and move forward,” he added.
With two days left in the SEAG, the Philippines remained at sixth spot with 23 gold medals, 30 silvers and 58 bronze medals – six gold medals short from the 2015 SEAG. Host-Malaysia is way ahead on top of the table followed by Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia.
The Philippines last won the overall championship in 2005./WDJ