Friday, September 24, 2021

Valderrama: Hidilyn’s triumph ignites hope

Maria Gemima C. Valderrama

FOR the past week, the Filipinos have been celebrating the triumph of Hidilyn Diaz in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. This will surely be written in all history books one decade from now. What could have been the impact of her victory on the young?


Her victory will ignite hope in the young who dream to build a name or harvest medals through sports or to alleviate their social and economic status through sports. Now, they can say everything is possible.

The news of Hidilyn’s overwhelming rewards from lifetime free flights to house and condominium to more than P30 million cash has been circulating. Some have concluded that getting rich and famous and having the opportunity to represent the Philippines in historic events is possible for everyone – especially from a young and innocent mind who loves to play and is curious to try out new things.

It could be from an elementary learner who strives to join school intramurals to District Meet to Regional Meet to Palarong Pambansa.

As veteran sports educator and leader Henry C. Daut of Marawi State University and Deputy National Director of the National Sports Academy and of the Philippine Sports Institute, a major program of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), puts it, there are seven stages to the pathway to sports development and excellence.

First is the mass sports program where we allow children to play. Next is talent identification where we do sports mapping action research talent identification. Then talent selection where we identify them to developmental sports. Talent development comes in where we provide optimal opportunities for learning. Then they become talent reserves until they become part of the national youth team. From there, they will be included in the elite team where they start to represent our country.

The Hidilyn Model, which PSC Chair William “Butch” I. Ramirez developed in his time that includes foreign coach, strength and conditioning coach, masseuse, sports psychologist, and a sports nutritionist, has become a total package to victory.

This model was introduced way back when the potential was already seen in Hidilyn, long before her victory. Not only that, but the PSC has also supported the national team spending around P2.7 billion for their foreign exposures, training, equipment, meals, supplies, and allowances.

The opportunities given to these athletes were so enormous that winning is never just an elusive dream.

Now, let’s go back to that learner who strives to join a sports event.

We have simple sports activities in schools where children are allowed to play until they can get a spot in school intramurals. Some would be identified immediately if the potential is seen in them. The selected learners will then undergo training in preparation for bigger sports competitions so they can represent the school.

In the Department of Education (DepEd), learners with potential in sports are selected and trained to join district meets. They are trained by teacher-coaches who were trained on the basics of their sports.

Unlike real coaches who only focus on their respective sport, the teacher-coaches who were designated to become coaches of the athletes are like teachers in the classroom who would guide and inspire them.

Yes, they are not so trained in sports medicine or sports nutrition, for example, because their focus is still on the academic side. They are all-around teachers. But they inspire in one way or another.

The PSC now under the leadership of Chairman Ramirez has become so active to reach the peripheries. They go to the provinces and cities to help craft their sports development plan. The crafting of these sports development plans includes teachers in public schools, in the academe because the schools are the producers of athletes.

Since the PSC is included in the Board of the Palarong Pambansa, it can help DepEd in planning all the stages of these student-athletes. They have the brilliant minds and the manpower to train potentials in sports. Through the national sports associations with whom they give funds, these young athletes can be given the right opportunities.

It is true that the weightlifting event of Hidilyn is not included in the grassroots sports, but it can be identified as one sport in the future. This pandemic has brought big changes and the changes won’t stop when the pandemic is over.

This is the start of evolving to real 21st-century education, and so with 21st-century sports.

Our young will soon dream to be included too in our history. The impact of all these victories in the middle of this pandemic proves that life always goes on. And for a child’s dream to give gold to the country, Hidilyn’s triumph is one real story.


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