THE Miracle of 2005 is about to be duplicated but there’s more than scooping the gold medals for the Philippines in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
With three days of action left, Philippine Sports Commission chair and chef de mission Butch Ramirez said the biennial games showed what unity can do to a country burdened by negativity and various differences.
Ramirez, also the chef de mission when the Philippines first won the overall title in 2005, said the sense of patriotism among Filipinos was awakened by the SEA Games. He noted that Filipinos from all walks of life passionately cheered the nationals, win or loss. The cheering was heard around the archipelago, especially if a Filipino bet won.
“Almost to the final stretch, and I am grateful to God for the steady performance of our team. More than the medal haul, I am thankful for all the sacrifice and hard work that went behind pushing their chances for a shining moment of victory.
However, I mean to train the light on the stories beyond these victories. The stories that teach us all lessons, as a sporting community, as a people and as a nation,” Ramirez said in a statement.
As of early Sunday, the Philippines was the runaway leader in the overall medal tally with a total of 221 medals, 89 of them gold. Indonesia was a far second, followed by Vietnam.
Under Ramirez, the PSC continues to focus on the grassroots but the agency’s big support to the athletes has resulted to a robust delegation bursting with pride, talent and dedication as can be gleaned by the results.
“Having the privilege of being both the PSC chairman and the chef de mission, I am witness to the many beautiful stories behind this event, and given a glimpse into the legacies that the SEA Games will leave. The gains from this event does not end when the curtains comes down on the 30th SEA Games edition. On top of the victories, there are many long-term advantages — legacies — the SEAG gifted us with,” Ramirez said.
He added that after the games, the country will have a big pool of new athletes eyeing to become the next Watanabe, Didal, Obiena, Yulo, Diaz, and other world-class Pinoy athletes.
He also praised the volunteers for their efforts, saying: “Sports instills values like discipline, dedication and respect for others –values needed for a healthier society — a mandate of the PSC. It awakened the bayanihan spirit and volunteerism among us. The very spirit shown by the heroism of Roger Casugay who gave up his chance for a golden finish to save an opponent at risk of losing his life to the very waves they play in. Truly a class act, a solid show of Filipino spirit.”
Ramirez did not mention that in a true display of camaraderie, Filipino sports fans are also united in cheering the Timor Leste squad, hoping it will not go home empty-handed.