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Tuesday, October 26, 2021
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Abalayan: Grassroots at the heart of PH sports

Marianne-Saberon-Abalayan

Time Out

GRASSROOTS sports has taken a huge hit since the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic struck the country in March 2020.

While some of the country's professional leagues have restarted in bubble-like tournaments, amateur athletes and coaches have been sidelined and kept in their homes due to quarantine measures that prohibit the staging of face-to-face training and actual competitions in the amateur level.

Yes, the amateurs in grassroots sports, are left with nothing to do and nowhere to go during this unprecedented time. But this does not mean the end of everything.

Every pandemic ends. There is always calm after the storm.

It is but timely that the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC)-organized National Sports Summit 2021 brought international physical education and sports speaker Prof. Henry Daut who discussed "Grassroots Sports In The Philippines" during the third installment of the sports conversation sports series on Thursday, February 11.

We can still look forward to something when this crisis is over. We can start where we left off in grassroots sports - resume the training, the trainers seminars, coaches' certification courses, and talent identification, among others.

I will share to you the recap/synthesis I made on Prof. Henry's lecture when I moderated the third session of the National Sports Summit 2021. The Marawi City-based renowned speaker highlighted two concepts of grassroots sports during his Zoom lecture that was attended by over 450 participants.

First, is the sports for life - which is the general approach that aims to improve the quality of life of the citizens; and second is sports for glory -- which is the specific approach that aims to develop athletes, coaches, clubs and competitions.

He underscored the need to equip human resources necessary for grassroots sports to flourish - physical educators, coaches, and volunteers to give children a worthwhile and rich experience. Educating leaders is also a vital concern that he raised.

He also highlighted the past and current grassroots development program of the PSC, citing its many gains and challenges over the years.

Grassroots sports, anywhere in the world, is undoubtedly a breeding ground of future champions not just in sports but also in life.

Putting premium on grassroots sports goes a long way in promoting healthy, strong, and productive citizenry.

A successful grassroots sports program, however, entails a strong collaboration of all stakeholders both in the government, spearheaded by the PSC, being the country's lead agency in sports, LGUs; other government agencies such as Deped and Ched, the private sector, private schools, and private companies; sports organizations such as the NSAs and POC, marginalized sectors -- women, the IPs, and PWDs. Of course, the media's role is also important.

Hence, winning the country's first Olympic gold medal is still possible with a unified, holistic, solid, and strong grassroots sports development program.


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