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USAPANG SPORTS. Olympic swimmer Eric Buhain (with microphone) announces the online registration of athletes and coaches who want to join the Philippine Swimming Inc. during the "Usapang Sports" of the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) at the National Press Club on Thursday (January 10, 2019). Also in photo (from left) are Philippine delegation chef de mission Monsour del Rosario, TOPS president and People's Tonight sports editor Ed Andaya, and veteran swimming coach Pinky Brosas. (PNA photo by Jess M. Escaros Jr.)

Monsour to sports execs: Stop fighting

Stop bickering and start thinking of the gold medal in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila.

This was the advise of 2019 SEAG chef de mission Monsour del Rosario as he urged fellow sports officials and athletes to set aside their differences and work together to ensure the country’s success in the biennial competition scheduled in Manila, Subic and Clark on Nov. 30-Dec. 11. 

“The Filipino athletes are talented enough to be the best in Southeast Asia, but we still have a lot of work to do to win the gold medals,” said Del Rosario during the fifth “Usapang Sports” by the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports at the National Press Club in Intramuros.

“As host nation, we have to do our best to win as many gold medals as possible,” added Del Rosario, who bagged several medals for the country in the SEA Games, Asian Games and World Championships from 1982 to 1989.

The 53-year-old taekwondo champion said he hopes to duplicate, if not surpass, the country’s  historic 19th-place finish in the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games held in Turkmenistan where he also served as chef de mission.

The country brought home two golds, 14 silvers and 14 bronzes while competing in 17 of 21 sports in the AIMAG.

“In the AIMAG, I was given a free hand to call the shots for the 105-strong Filipino delegation. Like a war general, I planned the strategy for the team, worked with the coaches and athletes and even stayed with them at the Athletes’ Village. It worked to perfection,” explained Del Rosario, also known in the sports circle as “Mr. Taekwondo”.

The well-known athlete-turned-pubic servant from Makati hopes to get the same support from both the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee in the coming SEA Games “not only to make his job easier but boost the Filipinos’ chances of winning.” 

Del Rosario revealed that he has already recommended long-time friend and taekwondo champion Stephen Fernandez, former national rugby player Ada Milby and Netball Philippines president  Charlie Ho to join his as deputy chef de mission.“I think the POC Board has already approved my recommendation to add Stephen (Fernandez) and Charlie (Ho),” said Del Rosario.

The POC has yet to decide on Milby, the first female member of the World Rugby Council and younger sister of actor Sam Milby.

“With some events to be held in Subic and Clark, I need these three officials to work with me in the SEA Games. I know both Stephen and Charlie personally, while I heard that Ada is a hard working, result-oriented individual during her time as player of the national rugby team.” he said. 

Del Rosario was joined in the weekly sports forum by former Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Eric Buhain and former national swimming coach Pinky Brosas. (PSC)

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