CHRISTMAS came early for sports this year.
Not that athletes can start competing in the open now since quarantine restrictions are still being enforced anywhere in the country. Virtual competitions remain the name of the game.
House Bill 1526, authored by Ako Bicol Party-List Representatives Alfredo Garbin Jr. and Elizaldy Co, who sought to ban minors from competing in combat sports due to safety reasons, failed to pass the House Committee on Youth and Sports Committee level during a virtual hearing on December 9.
But I just can't help thanking the country's two sports pillars, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), for standing behind the athletes and sports in general by opposing the proposed bill. I'd say the disadvantages of the proposed bill outweigh its good intentions.
It was such a huge victory to foil the bill's chance of ever advancing into the House of Representatives for voting. The bill got the boot earlier than expected. Such a great relief, indeed!
PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez was quoted on PSC's Facebook Page as saying, "It's a matter of putting in place safety measures and protocols. They didn't know that there are different rules for youth and elite sports."
Had the bill authors asked the national sports agency first, it would have saved them the hassle of authoring a bill that would not even see the light of day.
Well, since the HB 1526 issue is over now, we can be rest assured that grassroots sports development will continue here and in the countryside.
Interestingly, student athletes and those in the national teams strive to stay in shape and train amid the pandemic. Others train with their coaches online while some do so on their own.
The hope of seeing more Filipinos compete in the Olympics and win the country's first ever gold will continue to live on as long as more and more youngsters start young in their respective sports (whether full-contact or non-contact) and they are given the freedom to soar for greater heights.