Sunday July 22, 2018

Limpag: Peping’s outrageous five-gold prediction for Tokyo Olympics

YOU have to wonder what Philippine Olympic Committee president Peping Cojuangco was smoking when he predicted that the Philippines will win not only one, but five gold medals in the 2020 Olympics.

This after lamenting how the absence of a national training center has hampered the country’s Olympic movement, one that he has headed for the past 13 years.

Peping, of course, is the ultimate politician, and almost all of his statements are calculated. You have to wonder if he’s doing a Digong, saying the most outrageous thing that comes to mind. (Depending on which side of the fence you sit, Digong does it to cover up something or he is just being Digong.)

As for Peping, is he saying such an outrageous statement to counter the oust-Peping movement? Is he waiting to be held accountable for such, for someone to say that he must resign should he fail in his prediction? But doing that means allowing Peping to stay until the 2020 Olympics, which will happen at the tail end of Peping’s fourth four-year term.

That he said some of the medals would come from the US-based runners or swimmers shows how Peping, despite his four terms, has failed to address one of the basic problems in Philippine sports--expanding our pool of athletes. Sure, we have lots of potential athletes in the collegiate ranks or those who join national championships in every sport, but these athletes are basically the same ones who go through DepEd’s Palarong Pambansa.

That means that we have, in essence, a pool of 10,000 athletes, which is very low considering our population.

The Cebu City Sports Commission, recognizes such problem and is going beyond DepEd’s Palaro system in trying to discover new talents. They’ve been doing that for years and that’s despite the lack of a multi-million fund for grassroots.

It’s called innovation. Look at how they did their archery grassroots program; they made bows out of PCV pipes. The CCSC didn’t say, we can’t have an archery program because we don’t have the equipment, but instead worked around the issue.

In the 13 years that Peping has been battling for a national training center, he has never even asked himself: Do we really need a national training center? Or do we need to make sure the best athletes of the country, no matter where they are, get the training and equipment they need?

Five gold medals in Tokyo? You wish.

Odds are before 2020, we will have a new POC president, one who won’t stay in office forever and issue outrageous statements like winning five gold medals.

Peping’s five-gold prediction also shows that he has lost touch with the reality of Philippine sports. It’s time for him to go.