Former mix martial artist champion and three-time Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist Eduard Folayang asked the netizens to stop criticizing the event because it might lower the confidence of our athletes.
In an interview with GMA News, Folayang pointed out that in every big sporting event even in abroad, there’s some problem being experienced by the athletes.
However, he pointed out that athletes are joining big sporting events to represent their country, and not to have a “vacation”.
“We’ve experienced some inconveniences ourselves. In my first SEA Games, there were things to complain about. Our bus was hot, and there was no air-conditioning. There will always be something to complain about,” said Folayang.
“As an athlete, you can’t afford to look for luxury. You cannot expect that. You’ll be lucky if given a good facility, but having inconveniences is part of being an athlete. You don’t go there for vacation, after all.” he added.
Folayang also explained that the negativities surrounding the 30th SEA Games might lose the winning mindset of the Filipino athletes.
“Instead of boosting our nationalism because we are the host country, some would rather focus on the negativity and shortcomings. There’s no such thing as a perfect SEA Games. Regardless of the host, there could be something to complain about,” he explained.
“My point is, being a SEA Games athlete myself, it is really good that we now have world-class facilities. But if we focus on the issues, then we’re really going nowhere. Instead of boosting the athletes’ confidence, they might rather feel the negativity,” he added.
“What if the athletes become complacent and tell themselves it’s OK to lose because of all the shortcomings? What happens if their mindset turns out to be that way?” he also said.
According to Folayang, there’s nothing wrong with criticizing the mistakes of the SEA Games, but there’s a right time for that and that is when the event is already over.
“To me, what’s important is we take care of our athletes. That’s what athletes want to feel because they represent the country. Let’s not forget the true purpose of SEA Games which is to boost our nationalism and develop unity,” Folayang stated.
“The criticisms can come later. There’s always something to see and criticize, but as much as possible, it is better if the criticisms happen in the right season,” he added.