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Poised to dominate

December 02, 2019 - Monday 6:12 PM by MDM

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Unless it is sidetracked by typhoon Tisoy, the ongoing 30th Southeast Asian Games appears to indicate domination by the host country in the early goings.

With a medal haul of 20 golds, 10 silvers, and five bronzes on opening day, the Philippines is leading the field by a mile and seem on track to wrapping up the championships for the second time since 1959.

The first and last time it was champion was in 2005 when World Boxing lightweight champion Manny Pacquiao joined Philippines officials in welcoming participants in Manila.

The damper is that if typhoon Tisoy stays true to course, mainland Luzon cannot avoid being drenched. The typhoon, with a wind strength of 140 kph, is expected to have made landfall by Tuesday over the Bicol region on its way to the China sea.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said the typhoon is expected to traverse over the SEA Games venues in Metro Manila and the nearby provinces. Games organizers said they are prepared to evacuate participants to their hotels and to cancel games if necessary.

By Monday as the weather would allow, the Philippines should have harvested more wins to add to its medal haul.  

Two of the golds came from unlikely sources. Triathlon winner John Leerams Chicano started work as a janitor in a bike shop owned by Melvyn Fausto. Fausto, it turned out, is coach to the national triathlon team. Fausto saw something in Chicano and taught him how to swim and to compete. The rest is history.

One of the golds came by way of Kurash, a folk wrestling believed to be of Turkish origin where wrestlers use towels to hold their opponents and to throw their opponents off their feet.

This gold was won by jukoka Estie Gay Liwanen from Ifugao who manhandled the field. Their stories were among many human interest accounts emerging from the SEA Games, itself a great story of convergence, national pride, and bayanihan.

Our hats off to the organizers and to the Philippine Sports Commission for a job well done.