Philippines proclaimed SEA Games overall champs for 2nd time
The Philippine team was proclaimed overall champion as the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games officially ended at the New Clark City on Wednesday.
This is the country’s first victory after 14 years, when the biennial event was also held in the Philippines.
Garnering 387 medals with 149 gold, 117 silver and 121 bronze, the Philippines topped 11 countries that competed in different sports and e-sports games since November 25.
Vietnam was second with 98 golds, 85 silvers and 105 bronze medals followed by Thailand with 92 golds, 103 silvers and 123 bronze medals.
Indonesia snatched 72 golds, Malaysia with 55, Singapore with 53, Myanmar and Cambodia with four; Brunei Darussalam with two and Lao PDR with one.
Timor Leste will go home with one silver and five bronze medals.
According to Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), in just three sports, Filipino athletes won a total of 34 golds. These are arnis with 14; athletics with 11; and dancesport with 10.
John Chicano won the Philippines' first gold medal for the country during men’s triathlon while the last two were the men and women’s basketball teams.
Significant sources of golds were taekwondo with eight, boxing and wushu with seven each, skateboarding and wushu also with six each and jiujitsu with five.
During the closing ceremony at New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, Roger Casugay served as the flag bearer for the Philippines.
Casugay, the country’s representative for longboard competition, saved his rival, an Indonesian surfer who was swept by the waves when the leash on his surfboard got detached during their competition in La Union.
He is also one of the contributors to the Philippines’ record-setting medal haul with a gold medal.
Casugay was lauded not only by President Rodrigo Duterte but also by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
Hailed as the Male Mega Athlete was Zheng Wen from Singapore as he garnered six gold medals and two silver in the swimming competitions and the Female Mega Athlete was Nguyen Thi Ahn Vien who also got six gold medals and two silver in swimming competitions.
The special award, “Fair Play Athlete” was given to Casugay.
Receiving the overall champion trophy given to the Philippines was Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Butch Ramirez.
Representing President Rodrigo Duterte, it was Medialdea who formally closed the 30th SEA Games.
“I hereby declare the Southeast Asian Games closed and I call upon the youth of the Southeast Asian countries to assemble two years from now at Hanoi, Vietnam to celebrate the 31st Southeast Asian Games,” Medialdea said.
“Let us not forget that we all won as one,” he added.
After his announcement, the SEA Games flag was formally turned over to the representatives from Vietnam and the cauldron was finally extinguished to signify the finish of the event.
Earlier, PHISGOC chairman, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano told Duterte that sports will help the Filipino youth not to be involved in illegal drugs.
“We celebrate the vision of President Rodrigo Duterte to give all Filipinos a safe and comfortable life, he said.
“Mr. President, through sports we can take away illegal drugs from our youth,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano asked the people if they want bigger funds for sports in the country and they all shouted “yes”.
He said a national high school for sports will be build in the New Clark City after the event.
“That will give full scholarship to our athletes. We will upgrade and create inclusive well-funded grassroots sports programs and support the Department of Education and the Philippine Sports Commission,” Cayetano said.
He also mentioned some of the athletes who won, including Casugay for not being blinded by the gold medal.
“Do not underestimate the impact you have given in our lives... today we are better people because of you,” Cayetano said.
“We did not allowed the glitter of the gold to blind us... it is clear to him (Casugay) what was more important than the gold,” he said.
Cayetano said the 149 gold medal the Philippines won were all dedicated to Overseas Filipino workers.
The next host country will be Vietnam for the 31st SEA Games on 2021. Ella Dionisio/DMS