By Waylon Galvez
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez believes the country is not only capable of holding a successful 2019 SEA Games but is also confident the Filipino athletes will emerged overall champions.
Since the government agency is giving almost all the needs of the national athletes, including training abroad, Ramirez sees no reason why they can’t perform well in the biennial meet.
“I’m very confident, we can win our first gold in the Olympics, and win again the overall championship crown in the coming 2019 SEA Games here,” the 65-year-old Ramirez added.
“I’m hoping that for the rest of the five years na paglilingkod sa PSC, we can do more,” said Ramirez, who returned as head of the PSC in 2016 when he was tabbed by President Duterte
“We are here for the athletes so that they can perform better in all international competitions, including in the Olympic Games, the Asian Games and the SEA Games,” Ramirez said.
The first time the country won the regional championship was during the 2005 edition – the year Ramirez held fort of the government sports agency.
Before hosting the SEA Games, the national team will compete in this year’s Jakarta/Palembang Asian Games with hopes of surpassing the 1-3-11 gold-silver-bronze medal it had during the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.
In 2020, the Philippines will then see action in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
For this 2018, Ramirez said he intends to bring the things they learned from the previous year and build on the things they have started like projects the PSC had with other sectors.
“In 2017, we did a lot of important things, we did a lot of changes,” he said.
“We have learned a lot of lessons. We collaborated with the DILG, DepEd, the Commission on Higher Education and collegiate leagues for a more grassroots development program,” Ramirez added.