Editorial: Davao del Norte shows the way-A A +A
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
YES, it’s too early to be cheering. But the lone bright light at the Olympics 2012 saw people cheering and screaming late at night Tuesday for Mark Anthony Barriga who thwarted and out-boxed his taller Italian opponent. Everyone saw a sprightliness in him that is has the mark of a “thinking” boxer, not just a slugger. Overnight, he earned the monicker Little Pacquiao.
Last night television news drummed up his first win on his march to grab an Olympic gold medal that has been eluding Philippine athlete for decades now.
What caught our attention was the interview with his parents. We even had to confirm it with colleagues whether indeed his parents are with him at the Olympics. They are, both of them. And thus runs the boxing development program of Davao del Norte and how it is not only ensuring that young boxers are trained and developed the right way, but that they are given the much needed moral support when they go out there to fight for the country.
Support for Filipino athletes had always been wanting, such that medal harvests by athletes come from their sheer determination to win and nothing else. Win or lose, they get nothing. Some do get a bonus upon coming home, but are again left starving in their training camps, with barely enough to feed themselves.
Out there in Davao del Norte, erstwhile Rep. Antonio R. Floirendo Jr. started a boxing program in a desire to develop athletes who can bring home the glory that has been eluding the country. In that program is the support not just for their development in the sport but for their personal growth -- enhanced livelihood opportunities included. The program has since been handed over to incumbent Rep. Anton F. Lagdameo, who carries on the dream that the next Olympic gold will come from Mindanao.
Actually, it should be easy to nurture Filipino athletes because many of them are from poor families whose only dream is to bring glory to the country and better lives for their family. A decent allowance goes a long way, even send a sibling or two to school. But national sports officials have been blind to that and would deny each athlete the decent life each one deserves. No wonder then that while indeed our athletes are beyond compare, when it comes to sportsmanship and sheer determination, they always stumble when it’s time to grab the medals against their well-nurtured rivals who need not worry about their families back home.
Whether Barriga does bring home the medal or not, his initial showing against a taller opponent is already a show of what nurturing athletic talents entail: a focused and sustained program that looks at the athlete as a full human being who has needs to address and worry about every single day, and not just a pair of strong arms and stronger legs who are promised P5-million only after they get the gold.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 02, 2012.