[PHOTO AT LEFT - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev]

MOSCOW, (AFP), MARCH 3, 2010 (STAR) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev demanded Monday that sports officials step down over the country’s dismal performance at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Russia, a traditional winter sports powerhouse, won just 15 medals – with only three golds – in one of its worst performances. Officials said before the games that 30 medals and a top-three finish in the medal standings was the target.

Russia placed 11th for golds and sixth in the overall medal count.

In televised comments, Medvedev said if those responsible for preparing the athletes don’t resign then the decision will be made for them. He did not mention anyone by name.

“Those who bear the responsibility for Olympic preparations should carry that responsibility. It’s totally clear,” he said. “I think that the individuals responsible, or several of them, who answer for these preparations, should take the courageous decision to hand in their notice. If we don’t see such decisiveness, we will help them.”

In post-Soviet history, Russia had never previously finished outside the top five in the medal standings and only won fewer medals once before, in 2002 at Salt Lake City. Russia was the top nation at the 1994 Lillehammer Games, garnering 23 medals – 11 gold. (AP)

FVR: Sports leaders must unite By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) Updated March 03, 2010 12:00 AM

[Photo at left... TOP SPORTS ACHIEVERS: Government and sports officials grace the PSA Awards Night which feted the top achievers in sports in 2009. Photo shows, from left, former President Fidel V. Ramos, billiards ace Rubilen Amit, PSC chairman Harry Angping, trackster Marestella Torres, Sen. Chiz Escudero, POC president Peping Cojuangco, and taekwondo jins Camille Aranilla, Janice Lagman and Rani Ann Ortega. JUN MENDOZA]

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Fidel V. Ramos cautioned the country’s top sports leaders about their personal differences and their negative effects on the national athletes as they vie for honors in their respective fields.

There have been victories scored here and there, but the former chief executive feels there should have been more if those in charge of charting the course of RP sports are one and united and with a common goal.

“I hope that our sports leaders become united because that’s the name of sports,” said FVR who graced the annual PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association) Awards Night at the Manila Hotel last Monday.

He came with his wife, Amelita “Ming” Ramos, the longtime president of the Philippine Badminton Association, who happens to be caught in the crossfire of warring sports officials like Jose Cojuangco and Harry Angping.

Cojuangco, president of the Philippine Olympic Committee, and Angping, chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission, don’t see eye to eye, and in Monday’s glittery affair, the distance between them was for all to see.

Cojuangco, one of the special guests that evening, gave up his seat at the presidential table and opted to join the members of POC board in their own round table.

“I’d rather stay here,” he said.

Angping, who has repeatedly said he’s open to a dialogue with Cojuangco but just couldn’t earn the date, sat beside FVR and Sen. Francis Escudero and the night’s major awardees in the long presidential table.

The only time Cojuangco and Angping got close to each other, but still feet apart, was when they had to present the awards on stage.

“There should be teamwork,” said FVR.

“Even if your sport is an individual sport there should be teamwork with your family, your sponsors, your teammates who may be in other sports but are also part of the Philippine team.”

“Unity, solidarity and teamwork are the most important qualities which we have not yet attained – not this time. I think we can say we have attained this in previous years. But not this time,” said FVR.

It’s a pity, he added, because the Filipino athletes work so hard and are in fact “so competitive that they may even be better than the others.”

“They are talented and hard-working, and are really superior medal winners. But I hope our sports officials become united,” said FVR, a true sportsman who loves golf, running, bowling, badminton, swimming, scuba-diving and sky-diving.

Now all he wants is unity among the sports leaders.

“Otherwise, we will not be competitive,” he said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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