By Rey Joble

PHL’s SEAG campaign a success -- chef de mission Julian Camacho

Posted on June 19, 2015

SINGAPORE -- Despite failing to surpass the 29 golds garnered two years ago in Myanmar, For Julian Camacho, the Philippines’ participation in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games can be considered a success.

The Philippine delegation sent to the 28th Southeast Asian Games was more than half than the one brought to Myanmar two years ago but could only match the previous campaign’s total gold medal output. -- AFP
Mr. Camacho, the country’s chef de mission, gave his assessment in an interview with Fraulein Olavario of News 5.

“I can say it’s a successful campaign for the SEA Games even though we didn’t surpass our prediction to win 41, which we did in Thailand (in 2007),” said Mr. Camacho, also the head of the country’s wushu association.

Two years ago, the Philippines got 29 golds competing in Myanmar despite sending less than 200 athletes. This year, the country produced the same output of gold medals, but garnered more silver and bronze medals with a strong 472 athletes in the roster.

The Filipinos grabbed 36 silvers and 66 bronzes.

“More silvers and bronzes so mas maganda ito kesa sa Myanmar (this is much better than Myanmar),” added Mr. Camacho.

Despite Mr. Camacho’s claim that it was a successful campaign, he felt there were sports that didn’t meet what was expected of them.

“There are sports where we should have won but because we’re up against the host country in subjective sports, we failed,” Mr. Camacho said in the vernacular.

Mr. Camacho was referring to sports like taekwondo, wushu, and gymnastics. “Pauline Lopez, for example, she started in SEA Games when she was 15 and I think she joined two already always bronze, bronze. You don’t expect 15-year-old to get a gold medal right away. Now, because of the experience she got the gold, that’s what I’m trying to say,” added Mr. Camacho.

But Mr. Camacho also hit the media, saying they also had participation each time they fail to hit the projected gold medal haul.

“The media should be blamed a little bit because they keep on asking about the gold medal prediction each time we campaign in the SEA Games, Asian Games or the Olympics. Everybody is expecting you to deliver gold medals,” Mr. Camacho said. Of course, what we did is we have to send those medalists so we have a fighting chance. Unlike other countries like Thailand. They send almost a thousand athletes, I think almost 800 plus or 900 plus. More than half is compose of 15-, 16-, 17- year olds). They’re the developmental athletes sent to gain experience.”

“It’s not right on asking how many golds will you get?. Of course, for us as officials, we have to send the best. We will not send inexperience athletes. We have to change our mentality,” he added. “SEA Games is lowest competition of these games. Then each NSAs has its own World Championships. We used it as training ground in order for us to look forward for better results in Asian Games, especially if we can have more qualifiers for the Olympics. It’s difficult to have a mind-set like that, you have to send your best just to get gold.”