ONE of the things that caught my interest in the changes in the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) was the appointment of Charles Ho of netball to the arbitration committee Ricky Vargas formed. I wasn’t surprised with Ho’s appointment; I was surprised by the fact that we have a netball association in the Philippines.
I’ve been in sports for close to two decades and I only became aware of that fact now. How much more the ordinary Filipinos? You see, things like that are what keep Philippine sports behind.
Some of the sports officials in the Philippines are not aggressive in promoting their sport outside Manila or they are not active in expanding their pool of talent.
One of the things many critics point out in Philippine sports is that for a country of 100 million, we’ve been beaten by countries with a tenth of our population or even less in winning that first Olympic gold medal. But that’s a misleading statistic.
We may have 100 million Filipinos but we essentially have a pool of 10,000 athletes and I base that number on the field of participants in the Palarong Pambansa because they are essentially the same players who’d be competing in the national tournaments of the different sports.
And you can lay the blame on officials of NSAs who, for years, have failed to expand their reach outside of Manila or to think of new programs. Heck, it took a new lady president in sepak takraw for the sport to think of putting up a national league.
And then there’s netball, which hasn’t expanded its presence yet outside of Manila. If I’m wrong, then I’d be happy to be proven wrong.
The new POC will be busy in fixing the conflicts of the NSAs but aside from that, I hope that Ricky Vargas, with the help of the Philippine Sports Commission, will put emphasis on the “national” in these national sports associations. Sure we have the Batang Pinoy, the Philippine National Games, et cetera, but I don’t think we need another new tournament catering to the same individuals.
We need to expand our talent base. We don’t need to discover the next Mary Joy Tabal yet; we need to get as many kids as we can to run. They’re just out there, waiting to be included in a sports program, any program.
Vargas and his new officers have their work cut out for them. From fixing the NSA conflicts through arbitration to fixing what ails Philippine sports, which is, in some cases, the NSA itself. You need more than arbitration for that.