The Philippines has been awarded the right to host the 11th Asian Swimming Championships (ASC) in November 2020. This will be the first time that the nation will be hosting the ASC – a major quadrennial event with over 50 participating countries. While it is a significant honor for the Philippines and a major step forwards for the Philippine sporting industry, it is also vindication for the hard work and vision of Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano.
The international community has been praising the Philippines hosting of the 2019 SEA Games since the Opening Ceremony on November 30. Coaches, athletes, delegates, and even fans from our ASEAN neighbors have been heaping on praise for the host nation. Even international sporting bodies, like the Olympic Council of Asia, urged the Philippines to host bigger events in the future, like the 2030 Asian Games.
However, local critics couldn’t accept the success of the Games. At every turn, they attacked the motivation behind the hosting, the organization of the event, and of course, PHISGOC Chair Alan Peter Cayetano. They spread fake news, blew up small logistical issues, and even attacked the hard won medals of the athletes as if the entire event was a conspiracy. Hell, some “Writer” even compared President Duterte to Hilter because she couldn’t come up with any valid criticism of the amazing Opening Ceremonies.
But the facts remain indisputable. The 30th SEA Games have been an amazing success and hosting the event has brought incredible opportunities to our shores – and the Games aren’t even done yet. Though still officially ending on December 11, the Games have already established the Philippines as one to watch in the international sporting community.
Not to mention the spectacular performance of Team Philippines’ athletes. Our home team competitors also brought home the bragging rights of overall champ for the 30th Games. For local athletes, who have long faced issues like a lack of government support and an overly-politicized sporting community, this win significies that they are ready to take on the world. All they needed as a little bit of a push and a solid foundation of support – both of which were provided by PHISGOC’s handling of the SEA Games.
PHISGOC Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano was right about the SEA Games – they were a vital investment in a key sector. This investment is already starting to give returns to the country before the Games even finish. Thanks to proper government support and superb project management by PHISGOC, the Philippines has its foot in the door of the multi-billion sports tourism industry. Our country also has world-class sports facilities which can be used for generations of athletes to come. We have a renewed sense of community. We have been reminded of something we long forgot – the Filipino athlete is worth fighting for.