MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Sports Commission is worried that the backlash of the hostage incident which claimed the lives of eight Chinese tourists almost two weeks ago could spill over in the Asian Games.
“It’s something we are watching closely,” said PSC chair Ritchie Garcia. “Hopefully, it will not affect our participation in the Games.”
Hong Kong authorities and residents were enraged with the way the Philippine government handled the hostage crisis inside a tourist bus near the Quirino Grandstand that ended in a bloodbath.
Hong Kong is less than two hours away by train or bus from Guangzhou, China, host of the Asian Games on Nov. 12-27.
“We will try to avoid Hong Kong by booking a direct flight to Guangzhou,” said Garcia.
The PSC chief pointed out that once the RP delegation reaches its destination, athletes and coaches will go straight to their respective billeting areas.
“We were advised that the areas where the athletes will stay to train and compete are also secured,” said Garcia.
The Guangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee has built an athletes’ village where a total of 7,987 athletes from 32 countries have already been booked.
More athletes from 13 countries are expected by the organizers to beat the deadline of submission of entries on the second week of September.
“We still have time to gauge if the situation is really serious. But it will not change our plans of participating,” said Garcia.
The PSC will bankroll the participation of at least 160 athletes seeking medals in 26 sports.