Philippine Sports Commission chairperson William “Butch” Ramirez yesterday reiterated his call to sports leaders and the general public alike to look at the bigger picture regarding the country’s participation in the 31st Southeast Asian Games.,“We must remind everyone that our taking part in the Vietnam SEA Games has a bearing in our buildup to our competing in bigger international competitions such as the Asian Games and Olympics. Let us look at the bigger picture,” Ramirez said.,“Let us not make any judgments or criticisms of our athletes who are still competing in Vietnam. Let us not discourage them and continue to support them all the way.”,“There will be a time and place for that.”,“We will continue to pray for their safety and health, whatever their performance. We are very happy and proud of our athletes and coaches who fought hard for our country and people,” he stressed.,“Keep the fighting spirit alive as our Filipino athletes show their resilience in achieving their goals for our beloved country.”,The PSC chief, who has been closely monitoring the national team’s progress in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi and surrounding areas, cited the national judo team as a prime example of overcoming challenges even before they headed for Vietnam.,The Pinoy judokas were without the services of Kiyomi Watanabe and Mariya Takahaski, who won gold medals in the 2019 Philippine SEA Games, because of injury and academics, respectively.,Rather than be discouraged and give up hope, the Philippine Judo Federation, under the leadership of new president Alexander “Ali” Sulit, worked and trained hard the remaining athletes who were available to compete in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.,Because of this never-say-die mentality, judo has delivered two golds so far courtesy of Rena Furukawa and Shugen Nakano one day after the other in the women’s 57-kilogram and men’s 66-kg divisions, respectively.,“This is the kind of robust resourcefulness and heart we expect from our athletes and their sports leaders, who don’t give excuses but do what needs to be done for their respective sport. We salute Sulit and the national judo team!” Ramirez exclaimed.,This can-do attitude exemplified by the national judo squad, he said, was one major reason why the government sports agency spent P232 million for the Philippine delegation’s participation in the regional sports showcase, including the 641 athletes in 38 of 40 disciplines in the Vietnam Games.
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