MANILA, Philippines – The social media was set abuzz by a controversial award allegedly recognizing the Philippines as the ‘Best SEA Games Organizer.’
Specifically, the award was allegedly given to the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) being the main agency facilitating the regional sporting event in the Philippines.
In his personal Facebook account, PHISGOC chair House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano posted a photo of him being awarded by Sports Industry Award Asia (SPIA) CEO Eric Gottschalk.
Cayetano even thanked the award-giving body for the recognition.
But on SPIA’s official website, there is no such award given to the organizer of the 30th South East Asian Games.
One category posted on the website was the ‘Best Sporting Event of the Year’ in which the Philippines was not even listed.
The awardees, instead, were the Rugby World Cup 2019 which received a Gold Award; the Formula 1 Rolex Australia Grand Prix 2019 which received a Silver award; and the 2019 AFC Asia Cup which received the Bronze Award.
During the awarding, the category mentioned was “Sports Personalities of the Year” which was given to individuals who gave contributions to the sports industry of the Philippines.
In his speech, Gottschalk commended the Philippines’ hosting of the 30th SEA Games and the performance of all of Filipino athletes in the regional event.
“These are by far the best South East Asian Games so far ever and that is been awarded by SPI Asia for PHISGOC. So congratulations!“ Gottschalk said.
Clearly, there was no mention of Best SEA Games organizer nor an individual award given to Cayetano.
In a more elaborate statement posted on its official web page, SPIA CEO Gottschalk specified the award that was given to the Philippines, particularly to PHISGOC.
“The task of hosting an international sporting event is very tedious and enormous. But the Philippines was able to pull it off with flying colors amid the many challenges,” he said.
“This is the reason why we at SPIA ASIA gave an Excellence Award to the Philippine South East Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC),” he added.
The SPIA executive said the award was in recognition of PHISGOC’s success from the planning to the hosting of the 30th edition of the SEA Games.
He further explained it was not the first time the SPIA awarded such recognition to host countries, especially of international sporting events.
“Every year, SPIA Asia recognizes the special contributions and achievements of a host country— we have done it before in Bangkok, Thailand. This is not in any way different from the case of the Philippines this year,” Gottschalk clarified.
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