POC opens door for NSAs 'SEAG nominees'

POC opens door for NSAs 'SEAG nominees'
By: Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Olympic Committee has left the door open for various national sports associations (NSAs) to nominate as many “qualified” athletes for participation in the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar, apparently reconsidering its initial plan to send a small delegation.

In a meeting of the expanded board yesterday, POC officials agreed to allow the NSAs to name their candidates more freely now, instead of simply setting a limit on the number of athletes in the contingent or on the number of sports the country will compete in.

But POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. stressed that the NSAs will have to justify their nominees’ inclusion in the team via records before a task force and their eventual participation will be subject to approval by the Olympic body.

The new ruling likewise enables NSAs falling under team sports, like football and volleyball, to submit their respective nominees.

Sports officials had earlier expressed inclination towards sending a “token” or small contingent to Myanmar, taking into consideration the sports and events at stake in the Games, which they felt were not favorable to the Filipino bets.

Cojuangco said this wouldn’t necessarily result in a bloated delegation since the POC and the Philippine Sports Commission will put the nominees’ records and performances under scrutiny and would not give the green light without being totally convinced.

PSC chairman Richie Garcia, who attended the POC meeting, said he was fine with this and that the government agency was willing to fund the athletes’ trip “as long as they are truly capable of winning based on records.”