Palace commends SEA Games athletes

Posted at 11/24/2011 7:14 PM | Updated as of 11/25/2011 6:59 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang praised the Filipino athletes who participated in the 26th Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia, describing their performance as "noble."

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Thursday that the athletes were to be commended for their performance, even if the Philippines finished with only 36 gold medals, short of the 70 golds projected by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

"We do not view that as poor performance. Certainly, there is room for improvement, but we congratulate our Philippine contingent for their noble performance in the Southeast Asian Games," Lacierda said.

The Philippines finished with 36 golds, 56 silvers and 77 bronzes, good for 6th place in the biennial meet. They fell short of their goal to improve on their 5th place finish in the 2009 Laos games. Statistically, Team Philippines had their worst performance in a decade, garnering only 7.4% of available gold medals.

PSC chairman Richie Garcia has announced that they will review the performance of national sports associations (NSAs) that participated in the SEA Games. They plan to reward the NSAs that brought home gold medals with additional funding, while 'non-performing' NSAs may be subjected to budget cuts.

The PSC is the government's sports funding arm.

"We believe that if we can concentrate on the sports that we have a strong chance of excelling in, and pour our support on those sports that we believe we can perform much better in, I think we will have a better return on our investment," Lacierda said.

Earlier, Senator Pia Cayetano had called on President Benigno Aquino III to be more involved in the sports scene in the country.

"The President would like to see that the performance of our athletes is supported by government funding, so yes, we will support our athletes," Lacierda said. -- From a report by Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News