DOHA ASEAN GAMES GIVES PINOY ATHLETES BIG LIFT
MANILA, March 7, 2006 (MALAYA) BY CHRISTINE MONCADA - HEREíS welcome news for Filipino athletes and coaches.
In an unprecedented move, the Doha Asian Games Organizing Committee will shoulder the board and lodging expenses of all athletes and coaches from 45 countries participating in the 15th edition of the Asiad on Dec. 1-15.
Philippine Asian Games task force head and acting chef de mission Go Teng Kok, back from an inspection tour of facilities in Qatar, relayed this information yesterday, saying the gesture of the Asian Games organizers is more than welcome since it will mean less expense for the government.
Go said the DAGOC offer includes three days of stay before and after the competition. Officials and media men, however, are not part of the deal.
"This is the first (in the history of Asian Games)," said Go, who attended the chef de mission meeting in Qatar last Feb. 28 to March 2 with Philippine Olympic Committee administrative officer Mauricio Martelino.
Go said DAGOCís gesture will cut the cash-strapped Philippine Sports Commissionís expenses by almost half.
"Board and lodging is usually the most expensive aspect of the Games, especially in Qatar dahil mahal ang charge nila. So this is good news for us dahil mababawasan ang gastos natin," said Go, adding the daily rate at the athletes village is $60.
With board and lodging expenses out of the way, the PSC will only have to worry about air fare, uniform requirements and allowances of the RP team members.
Dohaís announcement is expected to ease some pressure off the PSC whose appropriations from the still-to-be approved budget for this year has been pegged by the Senate at a measly P28 million. PSC officials are still hoping the budget would be increased during the bicameral deliberations.
There was no immediate reaction from the Philippine Olympic Committee, which is intending to send 50 to 100 athletes who will see action in 35 disciplines, including basketball, provided the FIBA suspension on Philippine basketball is lifted on time.
The country will not participate in handball, hockey, kabaddi and rugby.
The deadline for submission of entry by number is on Aug. 15 and entry by name on Oct. 1, according to Go.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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