After SEA Games, Mikee Cojuangco says bigger events 'doable'

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 03 2020 03:18 PM

IOC Executive Board member Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines -- Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski believes the Philippines has the capability to host even bigger events -- such as the Asian Games -- after successfully holding the 30th Southeast Asian Games last year.

Cojuangco-Jaworski, the first Filipino ever elected to the powerful Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said in a recent interview that she sees no reason why the Philippines can't host an Asiad or even the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG).

"I think it's very doable," Cojuangco-Jaworski said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.

"Nakapag-host na tayo ng SEA Games, so I don't know kung bakit tanong 'yun, na kung kaya natin," she said. "Nakapag-host na tayo ng pinakamalaking SEA Games."

The Philippines overcame a rocky start to the biennial event and eventually emerged as overall champions. Filipino athletes delivered a record 149 gold medals for the host nation.

During his recent State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte praised the country's hosting, saying that Filipinos "fostered pride, patriotism, genuine sportsmanship, and camaraderie in our Southeast Asian brothers and sisters."

While Cojuangco-Jaworski believes the Philippines can host a continental event, she also stressed the importance of learning from previous hostings.

"I also think na marami pa nga talagang pwedeng mga matutunan, from every time na magkaroon tayo ng opportunity to host any games," she said.

"Hindi pwedeng hindi ka mag-rely sa NSA (national sports association). 'Yung NSA ang may technical expertise sa sport nila. 'Yung NSA ang may connect sa international federation nila," she added.

Hosting an event such as the Asian Games will also depend on the support that the organizers will get from the government and the private sector, added the IOC official.

"Of course, first and foremost, kailangan natin pangalagaan ang integrity of the sports competition," Cojuangco-Jaworski added. "That's why we're here."

"We're here to deliver Games na talagang good competition. So, sa mga bagay na 'yun, hindi kailangan na naka-concentrate sa isang body lang. It has to be teamwork talaga," she said.

The Philippines has been challenged to host the Asian Games since May 2018, when Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir floated the idea during an early press event for the SEA Games. Thohir was the chairman of the Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee.

In December 2019, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano -- the chairman of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee -- said they are planning to put together a bid to host the 2030 Asian Games.

"Ang maganda sa Asian Games, hindi kailangan all in the same area. So for Asian Games you can actually build Visayas, Mindanao facilities and Southern and Northern Luzon," Cayetano said at the time.

"Kasi tayo hindi tayo talaga magbi-build unless sigurado tayong may dadating, ganun minsan ang ugali natin. So maganda na meron tayong tina-target 10 years from now."

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