Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fair Play: Boosting the PNG

IT ISN’T far-fetched to be able to get 70 gold medals,” Philippine Sports Commission chairman Ritchie Garcia said on Nov. 8, two days before the Southeast Asian Games.

Aside from pinning his hopes on billiards, basketball, boxing, wushu, athletics, softball and baseball, Garcia also said, “I’m also expecting some sports to pull off some surprises in the SEA Games so getting 70 gold medals will not be hard to achieve.”

Aside from softball, which delivered with a sweep of the golds, and the 4-3-5 haul of the taekwondo team, we fell short in the other sports.

And as of yesterday morning? Two days before the 26th SEA Games was to end in Indonesia, the Philippines had 24 gold medals—twenty-freakin’-four—42 silvers and 60 bronzes.

I think Chairman Garcia should have said 70 medals, not 70 gold medals because we are nowhere near getting 70 gold medals unless finding excuses suddenly becomes a SEA Games sport.

And, just like what we’ve done since Sydney 2000, after every major sporting event—Olympics, Asiad and SEA Games—there will be calls for an overhaul of the country’s sports system.

Calls that often get ignored or labeled as unnecessary.

And as if on cue, as I was writing this, I read a tweet from a national columnist,  “With looming disaster in SEA Games, athletes shouldn’t be blamed for dismal showing but which sports officials will take responsibility and resign?”

Sure, a first-place finish was next to impossible since this is the SEA Games, and a host, if it fights for it enough, can even make counting sheep a medal event.

But I thought Garcia’s target was “achievable” since this is the SEA Games, the “lowest-level” sporting meet that we join.

Do our expectations no longer reflect the reality of Philippine sports?

Can we not compete in the Southeast Asian level anymore?

This sixth-place finish stinks.  We trail fifth place Singapore by 15 gold medals, while we are better than the bottom five Laos (8-6-33), Myanmar (7-19-26), Cambodia (3-11-20), Timor Leste (1-1-4), Brunei (0-2-7).

What happened? Is it the training? The selection process?

What can be done?

Can we do better? Definitely!

I hope aside from calling for the heads of the NSAs, the PSC and POC will also look at the Philippine National Games for a solution.

The PNG holds promise, especially when the PSC decided to require the national teams to compete because that’s how some new members of the national teams were discovered.

But instead of making it annual, why not make it biennial and hold it a year before the SEA Games? And require each LGU that wants to participate to hold its own local qualifiers—you know, make them spend their sports development fund on something aside from putting the mayors’ faces on basketball boards.

By requiring local qualifiers, the PNG becomes the showcase of the best-of-the best of Pinoy sports and by holding it a year before the SEAG, we have a year to make potential members of the team SEAG-ready.

Or we could continue to keep doing the things we are doing and end up getting disappointed again in the next SEA Games.

With yet another debacle, I don’t think we should call for top-to-bottom reforms. We can’t even have a complete overhaul of one national sports association without going to court, how much more reforming the whole landscape.

But thinking out-of-the box could help.

And I think, boosting the PNG and boosting sports at the local level is one.

But, that’s just me.

And I think winning 24 gold medals in the next SEA Games isn’t a far-fetched target.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi mike,

read your article. yes, you are right that everyone will complain from top to bottom when we don't do well in an international event. i don't believe though that all the blame should go to the heads of the different sports commissions or even the players selected. to be a international class athlete, it should start at an early age. just look in cebu for instance. what good facilities are offered to the young people? training, equipment and coaches are not readily available. if you look at the countries that are succeeding in the international events you will see that they start at a very young age with a solid support system. indonesia spent $2 million dollars on one sport and hired an international world champion to train the team for 6 months. then they took the team to europe to compete for 6 months in different tournaments to prepare for the seagames. result, 10 gold medals out of the 17 events. people say corruption is the culprit. i'm not saying that it doesn't happen but i do believe for all the athletes that we send to the seagames the budget isn't enough. i heard it was P80,000-100,000.00 per player. sounds like indonesia spent more on one sport than we spent on the entire budget for the seagames. mr. mvp even had to donate P10M! some athletes went on their own resources. so how can our country expect so much? they spend 100's of millions on useless flyovers and then we criticize the performance of the underbudget athletes? look at manny. yes, he's very gifted and very good but look at his resources. he has the best of the best. if only our athletes had half of that, then i believe they would have done much better. also, don't hold a png qualifying tournament 6 months before the seagames to select the athletes. they need at least a year to train. so before we jump to conclusions we need to look at the root of the problem. money... there's the saying that looks to be true in our sports "you get what you pay for". :-)

Anonymous said...

hi mike,

read your article. yes, you are right that everyone will complain from top to bottom when we don't do well in an international event. i don't believe though that all the blame should go to the heads of the different sports commissions or even the players selected. to be a international class athlete, it should start at an early age. just look in cebu for instance. what good facilities are offered to the young people? training, equipment and coaches are not readily available. if you look at the countries that are succeeding in the international events you will see that they start at a very young age with a solid support system. indonesia spent $2 million dollars on one sport and hired an international world champion to train the team for 6 months. then they took the team to europe to compete for 6 months in different tournaments to prepare for the seagames. result, 10 gold medals out of the 17 events. people say corruption is the culprit. i'm not saying that it doesn't happen but i do believe for all the athletes that we send to the seagames the budget isn't enough. i heard it was P80,000-100,000.00 per player. sounds like indonesia spent more on one sport than we spent on the entire budget for the seagames. mr. mvp even had to donate P10M! some athletes went on their own resources. so how can our country expect so much? they spend 100's of millions on useless flyovers and then we criticize the performance of the underbudget athletes? look at manny. yes, he's very gifted and very good but look at his resources. he has the best of the best. if only our athletes had half of that, then i believe they would have done much better. also, don't hold a png qualifying tournament 6 months before the seagames to select the athletes. they need at least a year to train. so before we jump to conclusions we need to look at the root of the problem. money... there's a saying that looks to be true in our sports, "you get what you pay for" :-)