Philippines, 26 Feb 2020
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INSIDE SPORTS: POC AND PSC NEED TO STRAIGHTEN PRIORITIES


PhilBoxing.com


The so-called leaders in Philippine sports, Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose ?Peping? Cojuangco and the replaced Philippine Sports Commission chairman and golfing buddy of Cojuangco, Richie Garcia, will desperately try to wring every ounce of favorable publicity from the glorious silver medal triumph of Hidilyn Diaz in the Women?s 53 kilogram weightlifting competition at the recent Rio Olympic Games.

The paucity of medals in the Olympics where we last won a medal in boxing at the Atlanta Games in 1996 as a result of the exploits of Onyok Velasco and the dismal failure to make any real impression in the Asian Games and even in the low level Southeast Asian Games demands an overhaul of the system and a fresh outlook to the development of our athletes under the various National Sports Associations. After four terms at the helm, POC president Cojuangco can only show our people one disaster after another even in the SEA Games which is undoubtedly the lowest level in international competition in the region.

Gone are the days when the dynamic Mike Keon stirred our athletes to perform beyond themselves and inspired them by his personal, hands-on style of leadership and unsullied integrity to rise from the Asean level through the SEA Games level and on to the Asian Games with such outstanding performers as Asia?s sprint queen Lydia de Vega, 400 meters star Isidro del Prado, steeplechaser Hector Begeo, long jumper Elma Muros and hurdler Renato Unso among many others.

Add to the list triple medal winner in swimming, Billy Wilson at the Asian Games in New Delhi in 1982 who trained like never before in the US, supported by Keon and his Gintong Alay program which was a model that other SEA Games nations like Thailand and Malaysia among others, replicated.

Since that era and under Cojuangco?s presidency, the Philippines has turned in one dismal performance after another with utter mediocrity reflecting the pedestrian thinking in the corridors of our sports agencies. Garcia boasted of savings of over P1 billion in Pagcor contributions which were meant to provide proper training facilities, comfortable accommodation, decent food and nutrition for our athletes in various disciplines but were regrettably stashed away in some bank probably of his choice.

Apparently the funds that were saved were being earmarked for the building of a training center in Clark Field while the present facilities are left to rot.

We clearly need someone with the vision and the resources to trigger a renaissance in Philippine sports and we can think of no better choice than the esteemed businessman-sportsman Manny Pangilinan who continues to support various sports and funds international tournaments staged in our country that give our athletes the opportunity to compete at the highest level and in so doing hone their skills and reinforce their experience.

Boxing is one sport in which the Philippines has won the most number of medals in the Olympic Games yet the POC and the PSC haven?t done anything truly substantial to give our boxers the training they deserve both at home and abroad and curtail the release of funds for our boxers and the governing body, ABAP.

We can?t blame ABAP president Ricky Vargas, a gentleman to the core who has done more than his share to try and salvage the situation often with the financial assistance of Mr. Pangilinan. It shouldn?t be this way if the POC and PSC have their priorities straightened out. We are confident that with Butch Ramirez at the helm of the PSC things will improve. But he can?t do it alone. Our National Sports Associations must realize that they need a committed individual like Manny Pangilinan to team up with chairman Ramirez to pull us out of the cesspit of failure and elevate our country into an emerging force in regional sports competitions. It can hopefully start with next year?s SEA Games. The challenge is there for the NSA?s to rally around. We trust they have the guts and the sense of commitment to do so, not for themselves but for the sake of our country and people.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Ronnie Nathanielsz.


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