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Avoiding ‘haul of shame’: A shot at 50

It’s always an interesting exercise to predict the country’s gold-medal harvest in the Southeast Asian Games, even if keen sports observers fancy the competition as no more than “barangay games.” To the uninitiated, it’s the lowest form of a multievent meet featuring athletes from different nations.

But the sports media consider predictions of this sort— fearless forecasts if you like— too risky. For one, they invite criticism. To avoid flak if the Filipino athletes miss their target, the media happily pass the crystal ball to sports officials.

The Philippine delegation led by flag bearer Alyssa Valdez parade during the Opening Ceremony of the 28th SEA Games held at the Singapore National Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub. INQUIRER PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA
Thus, according to the country’s chief of mission to the 11-nation Games, the Philippines could win 50 of the 405 gold medals at stake in the 29th SEA Games, scheduled Aug. 19 to 30, in Kuala Lumpur.

“We’re looking at around 50 golds, based on the projections of the NSAs (national sports associations),” says Cynthia Carrion.

What’s so crucial about the gold haul? For one, the gold won reflect the state of sports in the country. Pundits want to validate suspicions that Philippine sports has stagnated under its present leadership. They rue the fact that the Filipinos have not broken into the top three in the medal tally since 2005. They settled for seventh spot with 29 golds in 2013 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, and sixth, also with 29 golds, in 2015 in Singapore.

The predicted figure for the coming Games represents a mere 12.35 percent of the total gold medals at stake, but Carrion says it will be enough to halt the country’s embarrassing decline in the Games since 2005, when the Philippines won the overall title for the first and only time.

Source: http://sports.inquirer.net/258464/avoiding-haul-shame-shot-50

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