IN yet another novel approach, the Philippine Sports Commission is planning to team up with LGUs to help boost grassroots sports in the country and identify future elite athletes. In our country, some areas are known for certain sports and the PSC wants to step in and take advantage of that tradition.
Dumaguete is known for archery; Cebu, Gen. Santos City and Bago City for boxing; and Zamboanga for weightlifting. The PSC wants to use such advantages by tapping the National Sports Associations to help in the grassroots program of such areas.
No need to go through the Palaro step-ladder competitions or through other competitions, the athletes from these areas may get a chance to become an elite athlete through the training he or she would get under this program.
“In every identified area, we will help them by sending equipment and NSA coach,” PSC chairman Butch Ramirez told Manila media.
But aside from boxing, do you know what else Cebu is known for? Running.
We have a lot of running events and running programs in Cebu; both school and LGU-based. What we don’t have is an NSA-accredited coach and NSA-sanctioned local events.
No, we don’t need an NSA-sanctioned coach to know the latest training methods, we need them so whoever will be identified as a runner with potential could have a smooth path to the national team, unlike that of Mary Joy Tabal.
The PSC and Patafa can have two options regarding this—send a Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association-recognized coach or have one or two Cebu coaches recognize by the Patafa. (And if they need any names, I have one very viable candidate to suggest).
We need this because according to Ramirez, every elite runner must have a grassroots counterpart, sort of a reliever so when the time comes when he or she calls it a career, someone in the grassroots is ready to takeover.
And Cebu may have one Olympian in Mary Joy Tabal, but right behind the face of Cebu running are two or more youngsters who may be just two or three years away from becoming an elite runner.
So I hope either of the two things will happen for Cebu running: the local community welcomes Patafa with open arms or Patafa welcomes our coaches with a red carpet.
Either way, Cebu running wins.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on October 12, 2017.
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