EVER since I got into sports writing, it has become almost a tradition for sports officials to look for something positive after yet another disastrous international campaign.
This year’s SEA Games is no different after finishing at sixth place with 29 golds, 36 silver and 66 bronze medals, the team was lauded for doing its best, while officials lamanted the SEAG practice of the host choosing events where it is strong.
And of course, there’s that age-old, “They have more money for sports than us” excuse.
By next week, someone will announce that it’s back to the drawing board but “he trusts the people who are currently in position to draft the drawing board.”
No matter what they say, they can’t hide the fact that despite sending almost twice the number of athletes than the 2013 delegation, we only won the same number of gold medal and climbed a notch higher. We also hit our target because it was so low it was akin to aiming to see a child drool.
So, what should we do after this latest debacle? Fire everyone at the PSC? Tell POC chairman Peping Cojuangco that it’s time to let young blood run the Olympic Committee?
Well, they could do that and help solve the political infighting. But I hope somebody finally addresses the basic problem in Philippine sports. People always say, how come a country of 90 million can’t win more medals than a city-state? Well, we maybe 90-million strong but our pool of elite athletes is probably less than 5,000 and that’s for all the national teams.
National Sports Associations that have strong grassroots and talent identification programs like taekwondo and boxing are doing well, while the rest wait for that gifted athlete to arrive at their doorstep.
Expand the pool of talent, you improve our chances of succeeding internationally. And how to expand that should be the primary consideration of the PSC, instead of playing god by threatening to withdraw the allowances of athletes deemed by the POC as anti-establishment.
The Philippine sports program, as shown in the SEA Games, need a major overhaul. If we wait for the next Seag before we act, well, let’s all toast ourselves and be happy with a seventh-place finish.