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The Eye - By Joseph G. LariosaBy Joseph G. Lariosa
CHICAGO -Those people running the sports activities in the Philippines should also show a modicum of courtesy to the host country.

If their players are already done playing, they should at least be on hand to watch the other games until after the closing ceremonies.

What was even worse was that at the 11-day 14^th AIBA World Boxing Championship last week in Chicago, one of its Filipino players, light flyweight Harry Tanamor was about to climb the ring to fight for the gold medal when the Philippine team organizers allowed Tanamors teammates to leave for the airport, OHare International Airport.
I think Tanamor was already half-beaten even before the fight started.

He was like a dog with his tails between his legs.
In sports, even if a player is injured and cannot play, if he is capable of watching the game, he should be around to boost the morale of his teammates who are playing.

Sammy Sosa, a right fielder of the Chicago Cubs and one of greatest baseball homerun leaders, drew heavy fire from the media for leaving Wrigley Field during Cubs final game in 2004, after the Cubs had been eliminated from playoff contention. Sosas contract was never renewed.

Its amazing why the Philippine national team had to depart on the closing day when another day of waiting would have drawn phrases from the host organizers.

To make matters worse, the team was rushing to leave to attend an exhibition game in San Francisco , California . Isa-isa lang mga pare ko.” (One a time, my friends.)
Winning the gold takes precedence over exhibition games.

The private sponsors of the Philippine team already saved bundles of money for booking the boxers at a five-star Palmer House Hilton. Yet, it makes one wonders why the boxers are to leave a day early. According to Thai organizer, Mr. Manoch Bhudvanbhen, the Thai players paid only $40 a day for a 2-bed Hilton hotel room, which normally fetches $559 a day.
And another thing, why do the Philippine sports organizers allow the players to arrive in Chicago three days before the start of the tournament? Dont they realize that the players need more time to overcome the jet lag and the cold weather, among others?

This means that if they were fighting in Chicago at about 2 p.m., the newly-arrived boxer from the Philippines will feel like fighting at 4 a.m. Philippine time. And if you are fighting like a zombie, what is your chance against a conditioned American boxer? Wala. Nada. Nothing! Because of the dismal performance of the Philippine team, which merely picked up an Olympic slot, its about time the Philippine government and private sponsors pump more money into the team. Thailand, a neighboring country of the Philippines, won four Olympic slots. The Thais arrived in Chicago on Oct. 15, or eight days before the tournament. While the Philippine boxers arrived in Chicago on Oct. 20, or three days before the tournament.

Mr. Bhudvanbhen told me that despite the long period of stay of his players in Chicago, the players were still complaining of being a bit too cold.” How much more the Filipinos, who barely had three days to acclimatize?

Why should the Philippine sports organizers be penny-pinching our players? Whatever happened to the 200-million pesos ($4-M) raised by First Gentleman Mike Arroyo after the Philippines performed well in the 2005 Asian Games? It was Mr. William Butch Ramirez, Philippine Sports Commission chair, who told me about the money raised by the husband of President Arroyo.

Filipino volunteer international and Olympic referee Arturo Doy Vidal told me when the players arrived in Chicago, they were craving for kanin (rice). The Philippine sports organizers should have ordered Filipino food from some Chicago-area Filipino restaurants or contracted the services of Filipino restaurants to supply food to the boxers.

Mr. Vidal also added that one of the players, flyweight Violito Payla got sick on arrival (SOA?). Meron siyang lagnat at sipon bago ang laban”. (He was running a fever and had a cold before the fight.)

Payla, who was a win away from qualifying, lost eventually when he was hurt by a right cross from American Olympian Rau-shee Warren during the preliminary round. Payla, Asian Games gold medalist, was one of the best hopes of the Philippines to win a medal.

The PSC gave each boxer 24,000 pesos ($500) allowances for the 11-day tournament while Mr. Ramirez gave personally an additional $100 to each boxer. Vidal clarified as a volunteer to the team, he did not get any of these allowances. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net

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