"IF YOU ask me if I am happy, I am not. We got beaten," said Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson when asked for a reaction about the performance of Negros Occidental athletes in the recently concluded Western Visayas Regional Athletic Meet held in Aklan.
"They did their best. The last time, we were the champions in elementary. This time, we lost both. We got beaten," the governor said Tuesday, May 2.
Negros Occidental finished first runner up behind Iloilo, who was the overall champion.
In 2019, Negros Occidental was the champion in the elementary category and the 1st runner up in the secondary category in a regional sports event.
"The results should be a challenge to all people concerned that for 2024 we really have to do better. We have to catch up with Iloilo," Lacson said.
Lacson cited the sports that Negros Occidental dominated, like swimming and volleyball.
"There are certain sports that are a disappointment, like chess, even if we sponsored some chess tournaments. I'm surprised that in the elementary category we just ended up with bronze. I'd like to know why. Are we not reaching out to the younger set?" he pointed out.
Lacson added that he wants sports programs to be developmental. That means developing young athletes.
“I don't have to sugarcoat it; we were beaten. We have to accept that. But I hope that it will pose a challenge to us again in 2024," he said.
Lacson said the swimming and volleyball teams are "privately-sponsored."
"We would like to thank the schools, parents, coaches, and sponsors," he said.
Lacson also reiterated his earlier position that he doesn't like to give financial incentives to athletes.
"They are amateurs. They represent their schools, their families, and the province. I don't like to make money as an incentive for these athletes," he also said.
He said that he will review the sports program of the provincial government, citing athletics, which has no private sponsors.
"The province will come in. I've already talked to Carlo Agustin, the provincial sports consultant, to hold regular events in athletics. It has many gold medals that are up for grabs. I'll go back to the drawing board for chess. Let us take advantage of the events that have a high number of gold medals up for grabs," he also said.*