PHISGOC assures SEA Games athletes’ woes resolved

Robie de Guzman
Gharib Khotibul Umam (2-R) of Indonesia in action against Malaysia defenders during the SEA Games 2019 men’s Floorball preliminary round match at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, 27 November 2019. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – Officials of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) has assured that issues raised by several athletes from participating countries have been sorted out.

In a press briefing Wednesday, PHISGOC chief operating officer Ramon “Tats” Suzara said issues on food, logistics, accommodation and unfinished venues have all been resolved before the SEA Games’ formal opening on Saturday, Nov. 30 at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.

“Two days ago, we had a chef de mission meeting, the first one here, and we tackled all the issues, the complaints, the requests and problems of the chef de mission and we have resolved everything,” Suzara said.

In the past few days, PHISGOC drew flak from netizens and the media over complaints from several athletes on inconveniences they claimed to have experienced, including logistics, lodging, far-off practice venues as well as food being served to delegates billeted in hotels.

It can be recalled that the coach of the Philippine women’s football team, Let Dimzon, earlier claimed that her team was served kikiam, along with rice and egg, for breakfast.

READ: PH football coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim, hotel says

The management of Whitewoods Convention and Leisure Hotel, which hosted the team, has clarified that athletes were served chicken sausage as part of a breakfast buffet, contrary to Dimzon’s claim.

It added that kikiam is not part of the hotel’s menu and that the chicken sausage was just part of a wider menu which included an omelet station, other assorted sausages, fruits, fruit juices, bread and rice.

“Our food serving is generous because we decided a free and open buffet service complete with egg omelet station that is not part of our contract,” it said in a statement.

According to Suzara, these issues are normal in terms of hosting big sporting events as there are always adjustments before the games’ formal opening.

“We want to put a rest on this. This is very normal. All of the athletes, you media, always before the opening ceremony, there are a lot of adjustments not only here but also in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia. There are a lot of games that you wait two hours, three hours in the airport so let’s help each other,” he said.

Suzara said there are more to the country’s hosting of the games than the mishaps encountered in the early staging of the games.

He said there are 52 venues for the sporting events and only a few of these were not completely ready when the football tournaments started on Monday.

He also urged the Philippine media to report positive stories instead to help motivate Filipino athletes to win in the competition.

“I’m appealing to all of you to give positive note on what we have done,” he said.

The 30th SEA Games being hosted in the country will formally open on Saturday, Nov. 30 and will end on Dec. 11.

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