He just angered a few million Filipinos with his latest pronouncements as reported by ABS-CBN News – a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease.
Highlights of the report:
POC Director Jeff Tamayo downplayed the team’s 5-gold medal haul by saying the Filipino paddlers competed against inferior teams.
“[Sa] sinalihan nilang competition, they’re like big fish in a small pond…ang sinalihan nila ay sa beginner’s competition. [It’s] for those who don’t have 20-man teams,” Tamayo told ABS-CBN Studio 23’s Iba-Balita.
He said that unlike other teams, the Philippine team had already benefitted from years of training. He claimed that it was unfair competition.
“Kargado na sila from the years of PSC funding tapos hahataw sila sa mga bagong countries na bagong sali. Don’t tell me that’s fair. But I congratulate them [Dragon Boat team] for the gold,” said Tamayo.
He said the team members should instead test themselves against powerhouse competitors in the Southeast Asian region.
“Ang Myanmar at Indonesia in our own region are two strong teams,” he said.
The cash-strapped Philippine Dragon Boat team nearly failed to make it to this year’s International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) World Championship.
Its mother association, the Philippine Dragon Boat Association (PDBF), was stripped of its status as a national sports association by the POC, which cut a major source of funding for the paddlers.
Just to make it to the competition, they had to reduce the squad and were only able to join the 10-man short boat events.
Retire old paddlers
Tamayo also said that members of the winning Dragon Boat team should already consider retirement to give way to younger paddlers.
“For example, ‘yung athletes… tignan natin if you’ve been around for the PH team for the last 12 years or more for some of them? Baka naman it’s time to move on,” he said.