Rogelio Antonio out of the Philippines team for the Chess Olympiad 2010

Decision by NCFP, Rogelio Antonio out of the Asian Games as well

Antonio Rogelio Jr

The National Chess Federation Philippines (NCFP) headed by president Prospero Pichay has decided to drop Grandmaster Rogelio “Joey” Antonio from the national team bound for the World Chess Olympiad and Asian Games. The measure comes after Rogelio has snubbed the two major chess tournament hosted in the country – the 6th Pichay Cup and the 1st Florencio Campomanes Memorial Cup at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

All paricipants in the Chess Olympiad 2010

Antonio, who is the country’s board two player, opted to go to the US to compete in a series of weekend tournaments, despite the federations request the Olympiad players to participate in at least one of the two events. “Definitely, we will sanction him. Discipline is important for a national player and we will not tolerate players who are prima donnas,” said Pichay. In a statement, Antonio said that the NCFP president approved his trip by signing the letter of endorsement which he forwarded to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for financial support. “Yes, I signed the letter intended for the PSC, but it doesn’t mean that he was given the go signal to miss the two major events in the country. We already had the order that national players must take part in at least one tournament, either the Pichay Cup or the Campomanes Cup,” explained Pichay. “His action shows that he is not serious in joining the team,” added Pichay, explaining the fact that the two international tournaments being held in the country offers tougher competition compared to the US events Antonio opted to join.

Antonio’s replacement will be known after the Campomanes Cup as the NCFP will evaluate local players seeing action in the tournament held in honor of the grand old man of Philippine Chess. GMs Wesley So, John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo and Asia’s first garndmaster Eugene Torre, are the members of the team that will see action in the 39th Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia from September 21 to October 3 and the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou China this November.

GM Rogelio Antonio answers

“That is the worst thing they can do to a player who has served and represented his country for so many years now. Without any official board resolution, they can just threaten anyone and take away his pride and life, even without an official inquiry,” said Antonio, whose trip here is backed by the NCFP itself and the Philippines Sports Commission.

“Modesty aside, I have given so much honor and glory to the Philippines being one of the main pillars for the RP team in the past 10 Olympiads along with Eugene Torre. I have dedicated my life to the sport and now, they just want to snuff out the fire in me?,” added Antonio, ranked the country’s No. 2 in terms of Elo.

“I have all the documents signed by Mr. Pichay. I also made a courtesy call to PSC Chairman Richie Garcia before I left so I am completely puzzled by their decision, which I hope is not final. Physically, I can not be able to play in the “Campo” Memorial because my plane ticket has been booked until Sept. 9. If they would send me a new ticket, I will go home ASAP.”

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