Alibis and finger-pointing
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
IF you read my column in the August 19-25 issue, I asserted then that our national sports leaders will surely make some alibis ending up finger-pointing on who’s supposed to be blamed for the below-par performance of our national athletes in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, the chairman of the Senate committee on amateur sports competitiveness, gave the first salvo against our national sports top honchos. In fact, the young lawmaker called for an inquiry into the state of sports development to determine the issues hounding our sports program and if necessary, craft a remedial legislation to solve the longstanding predicament.
Indirectly, his tirade was addressed to our two top national sports leaders, Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco and Philippine Sports Commission chairman Ricardo“Richie” Garcia. Trillanes noted that there were some perceptible problems with funding as admitted by the PSC leaders headed by Garcia who did a Pontius Pilate by blaming the previous administration for realigning the sports funds that were intended for our national athletes, coaches and trainers. “I’m just two years in this government entity and I’m not superman to produce an Olympic medal immediately,’’ fumed Garcia.
Well, honestly, we could buy that alibi and that could be one of the reasons why we failed again in the Olympics. But the biggest reason I know in this generation is the low priority given by the P-Noy administration, especially in terms of funding the sports development program. There are also the ineffectual coaches and trainers, the power squabble among National Sports Associations (NSAs), poor coordination with agencies, red tape, and the last but not the least is the palakasan system which goes on to this day. This is the most damning policy of them all by our sports leaders and I believe it’s all because of money. I was one of the victims of the palakasan system during my cycling amateur heydays in 1964 for the Tokyo Olympics. Aside from the palakasan system, some head coaches are bribed to select favored athletes to be recommended to NSAs for approval. I know that because I, as a former national athlete, was expelled because of palakasan and because of money despite being the second best in the national squad. I will never forget that incident. Remember, our Lord Jesus Christ once said, “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” (1Timothy 6: 10). He’s very right.
The last time we won an Olympic medal was in the 1996 Atlanta Games courtesy of boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco who won a silver. Medal drought in four Olympics stints is already too much for this country with almost 100 million inhabitants. There’s really something wrong, and big, in our sports development program. Remember, it’s not just in the London Olympics that we failed but also in the Southeast Asia (SEA) Games last year held in Jakarta where we placed sixth out of 11 countries that participated. That was our worst performance in the biennial meet since we joined in 1977. SEA Games is considered as the smallest regional meet in the world.
The big question now of the Filipino is: “when will we ever win the gold in the Olympics?” Only God knows.
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After more than two months of skirmishes, the Dagupan City SK Inter-Barangay Basketball Tournament (Mayor Benjie S. Lim Cup) is now at the quarter final round. Eight out of the 22 teams that participated, led by defending champion Bonuan Gueset, passed the elimination round and are now battling to grab the four slots for the semis via a single round-robin system. Unheralded before the start of the tourney, I was surprised to know that Bonuan Binloc was the only team to score an unblemished record of 10-0 during the elims. Last Sunday, the Chester Gonzales boys remained perfect, started their quarterfinals campaign with a heartbreaking 82-80 victory over co-title contender Calmay in a game held at the Dagupan People’s Astrodome. Pantal clobbered Bonuan Boquig, 90-55, Bonuan Gueset plastered Malued, 78-54, and Caranglaan edged Herrero Perez, 76-73. Hostilities resume on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at the Dagupan People’s Astrodome.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Honor your father and your mother,” which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with you and you may long live on the earth. And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. EPHESIANS 6: 1-4