Aim high, break records-A A +A
Thursday, August 23, 2012
FOR 16 years, Matthew Vincent Vega went to every Milo Little Olympics swimming competition. He used to compete, and later, he just wanted to check if someone finally broke a record he made when Milo started in 1996.
“It has been quite a while and I have been waiting for the swimmer to finally come and break my 50-meter freestyle record,” said Vega, who is now a teacher.
The year 1996 was considered the glory year of Cebu sports. Vega was among those who etched his name in the swimming record books along with Andrei Ynclino, Lynette Ang, the Khun sisters Khalyla and Khawinda. In athletics, there was Rosal Paculaba, the statuesque jumper, whose record jump of 1.55 meters in the high jump event in 1997 remains intact, and in 1999, sprinter Jonah Genelsa found herselsf in the Milo record books after finishing the 400-meter run a shade under one minute. These records have been untouched for years.
And as the Milo Little Olympics rolls into Cebu tomorrow, Vega poses a challenge to the thousands of young athletes competing in the two-weekend event: aim not just for the victory, but make that victory an earth-shattering one. Make your own mark.
The Milo Little Olympics is on its 25th year and will have its Visayas elimination for the 17th year starting tomorrow.
Hosting the Milo Little Olympics this year, in the Olympic year, that saw another fruitless finish for the Philippines, poses a challenge for the organizers whose aim is to build future champions.
Milo Sports Executive Robbie de Vera said that Milo has been strongly pushing to strengthen the grassroots sports development program and hopes that the Philippines’ finish in the Olympics will not dampen the spirits of the young athletes.
“I hope the athletes will be more inspired to strive harder because they will one day be representing the country in the Olympiad,” said de Vera.
“ We are very much involved in helping the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee identify talented athletes just as much as the Palarong Pambansa does,” said de Vera.
Local organizer Ricky Ballesteros said that after winning the grand slam in the national finals, they are now looking at completing the entire cyle.
The Visayas team had won the finals held in the Visayas, Mindanao and Luzon, where it won the perpetual trophy. It now aims to protect the dominance when the national finals hit Marikina in October.
To do this, Ballesteros said, they need a strong field of athletes that will make up Team Visayas.
“We need the strongest ones. Those who will not falter when faced with tough challenges in the national finals. That is why in the regional eliminations, we are already challenging our athletes to be the best they can be,” said Ballesteros.
Thousands of athletes from almost 300 schools from the Visayas will take part in the two-weekend multi-sporting event.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 23, 2012.