DESPITE the initial problems that marred the Philippines’ hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, the vice president of the Olympic Council of Asia, Wei Jizhong, was pleased enough to tell the organizers that the country is ready to host larger-scale sporting events.
Speaking on Monday along with Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee officials at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, Wei said he is satisfied with how the organizers are running the show—from attending the early glitches to the lavish opening ceremonies at the Philippine Arena.
“To have some problems at the beginning of the Games, in all the other events … it happens,” Wei said. “But the apology of the President and the Speaker [of] parliament… it is the first time.”
He added, “It means the high authority is very keen to provide the athletes the best condition.”
In a television interview aired Monday morning, however, President Duterte still expressed dismay that the pre-opening mishaps happened, given the huge budget – P6 billion from the budget and P1.5 billion in sponsorships – that the organizing committee was provided with.
President Duterte and Phisgoc Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano, who is also House Speaker, issued apologies after the mishaps that happened to foreign and local delegations days before to the opening rites last Saturday.
The opening ceremony, which Wei witnessed at the gigantic indoor Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, is a cut above the rest, according to him.
“The opening ceremony, perhaps, is unique at the biggest indoor arena in the world. We saw the enthusiasm of all the athletes, you allowed all the athletes to walk in, because in other Games they limit. The parade is for the honor of the athletes,” Wei said.
With all these happening before his eyes, the high-ranking official of the continental Olympic body saw enough reason to commend the host nation and rally behind another huge task for the country in the future.
“[The] Philippines is capable to organize bigger games,” he said.