When do we truly ‘win as one’?
In an astonishing showing, the Philippines has become the overall champion of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games — though it isn’t surprising because, as the host country, we have the power to choose the events where we think we could win.
In fact, we have participants in all 56 sports events. But if there’s one thing that the SEA Games has reignited in the consciousness of Filipinos, it’s this: We are more than a country afflicted with illegal drugs. We have talent and grace and artistry running in our blood.
Because of the current administration’s efforts to solve the illegal drug problem in our country, some nations have put us in the spotlight as the haven of extrajudicial killings involving drug pushers and users.
There could be some truth in this, but it’s also unfortunate, because we’re being reduced to a single identity with negative connotations. Today, with the hosting of the SEA Games, this problem is being alleviated.
We witnessed the elegance of Agatha Wong in wushu, the toughness of Carlos Yulo in gymnastics and the spirit of Hidilyn Diaz in weightlifting. For a moment, we were reminded of our gifts, of the promise in front of us, of the possibility of us notching our first gold medal in the Olympics.
Our sports heroes ably represented us and offered their blood, sweat and tears to give outstanding performances for our country. The challenge now is to support them and to ask the government to do everything for them, to allow them to reach their full potential.
We should not settle for SEA Games recognition. It is only when we do not desert our national athletes after the SEA Games that we can genuinely and convincingly say to ourselves that “we win as one”.
BENRE J. ZENAROSA
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