THE Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) welcomed the challenge of President Rodrigo Duterte to make sports accessible to the countryside as the national sports agency is already living up to it since the Philippine Sports Institute was relaunched in January this year.
President Duterte, in his speech during the awarding of cash incentives to Filipino athletes who won medals in the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on September 13 at Malacanang Palace, posed the challenge to the PSC in line with the country's hosting of the 30th SEA Games in 2019.
The hosting, according to the president, is an opportunity to look for talented Filipino athletes all over the country.
"I enjoin PSC to widen its scope and recruit nationwide. Look for them in non-traditional places and include members of the indigenous tribes and the out-of-school youth. Let's give them a chance to hone their talents and live up to their fullest potentials," Duterte said.
PSC chairman William "Butch" Ramirez, for his part, said the mantra of the President is to give equal opportunities to all Filipino athletes.
The PSC chief said, "This means making sports accessible to the periphery, to the communities, especially to the needy, destitute, out-of-school youth and to the indigenous and Muslim communities and even those in despair. That's the center of our grassroots sports program."
Thus, Ramirez urged that all sports associations "must cooperate with PSC's clear policies and vision to succeed in the elite development".
He added that they also aim to create strong awareness in physical education and quality of life of people.
The PSI, relaunched last January 16, revived the Sports Mapping Action Research Talent Identification (Smart ID) Train the Trainers Program in key cities in the country through the Sports Mapping Action Research for Talent Technical Experts and Manpower. The Smart Team will conduct the Smart ID testing. The Smart ID is PSI's national grassroots talent identification program.
The result of the testing will provide data to help PSI identify potential talents. Smart ID is designed for raw talents, not for athletes who have already been competing. Thus, it is open not just for students but also for out-of-school youths and indigenous people children.
The PSI also helps in the high-performance training of elite athletes in the national team.
The PSC along with PSI also revived the Laro't Saya sa Parke, enjoining families to play and have fun in the parks through free sports clinics and Zumba, and the Children's Games, which has been cited by the Unesco, and launched the tribal games to expand the agency's reach in the grassroots regardless of religion and culture. (PR)