HANOI — Except for some minor hitches, national team chef de mission Ramon Fernandez on Wednesday gave the thumbs-up to the Vietnamese hosts for the organization of the 31st edition of the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG).
“The Vietnamese SEA Games hosts have been warm, hospitable and run a tight ship. The accommodations of our athletes, coaches and other staff of the Philippine team are comfortable. We have been treated well. There have been no major complaints,” Mr. Fernandez said.
He said that the one problem he has heard so far was the transport from the hotels of the participants to the training and competition venues, which was understandable since Vietnam, like the rest of the region, was still coping with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The organizers have been apologetic about this issue and have addressed our concerns as soon as they can whenever the transport problems crop up,” Mr. Fernandez noted, also a commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission.
“Overall, we are satisfied by the treatment of our Vietnamese hosts and give them the thumbs-up.”
Mr. Fernandez revealed that national team morale remains high after visiting most of the country’s campaigners in the Vietnamese capital and surrounding areas, a testament to their resiliency despite the many challenges they faced in gearing for the regional sports showcase.
“We have tried our best in visiting all of our athletes in the various sports and found most, if not all, of them in high spirits,” he said.
He cited the example of track and field athlete Clinton Kingsley Bautista, who bucked a serious shin injury barely a month before the regional meet to recover in time in retaining the men’s 400-meter hurdles title with a record-breaking run at the My Dinh National Stadium last Monday.
Sticking basically to the successful game plan in his breakthrough win in the 2019 30th SEA Games trackfest at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, Bautista blasted away from the starting blocks to win the race in a new national mark of 13.78 seconds.
The 29-year-old pride of Camiling, Tarlac reset the five-year-old standard of 13.91 seconds set by Patrick Unso, the son of celebrated middle distance runner Renato Unso, in the 2017 Thailand Open.
“Clinton showed a heroic effort in overcoming adversity to retain his hurdles title. I hope the rest of our competing athletes can draw inspiration from his experience,” Mr. Fernandez said.