FIRST, Butch Ramirez said he might stop extending financial help to National Sports Associations (NSAs) that failed to liquidate their expenses.
He’ll be justified. Why so simple a requirement to complete a government process is not met simply courts sanctions, if not downright punishment.
Butch, as chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), is custodian of people’s money being used to finance NSA operations pertaining chiefly to training of athletes and their participation overseas.
Not long after Butch issued his stern warning, he trained his guns on non-performing NSAs in global battles like the SEA Games, Asian Games and Olympic Games.
“If you don’t perform that well (read: fall way below expectations), I might be forced to withhold further financial support,” he said.
Or words to that effect.
In the last five editions alone of the SEA Games, our best finish was fifth after we captured the overall championship in 2005.
And yet, the SEA Games is largely regarded as the “Barangay Tournament” in all of Asia.
In the Asian Games, we could hardly win a gold medal after our two gold medals in 2002 Busan through equestrian Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski and bowler Paeng Nepomuceno.
Mikee has since retired and is now the Philippines’ permanent representative to the International Olympic Committee.
Officially, Paeng is still active. But do we need to always lean on him for medals, even as he is the only bowler to have won the World Cup three times in three different decades?
Hey, Paeng is spring chicken no more. Have pity. His knees could be creaky by now.
Look, just last Sunday, boxer Bernard Hopkins didn’t only lose his last fight to Joe Smith Jr. He also fell out of the ring on Smith’s merciless bombardment.
I cried for Hopkins, my idol. At 51, he should be watching sunsets, a stemmed glass in hand. In sports, indeed, knees go first.
Butch is no Hopkins. He knows when to decide—the politically correct way, that is.
As in also saying he would stop the practice of scouring the US for Fil-Ams to join our national team.
Instead, he would much prefer to hunt talents from the grassroots—the organically grown kind.
I agree. While Fil-Ams come and go, not our homegrown heroes; they are ours—forever.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on December 20, 2016.
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