Fair Play: Another Olympics, another 0-0-0 haul
SIXTEEN years. Sixteen very long years in four Olympics.
Sydney, Athens, Beijing and now, London.
Sixteen years. That's how long the Philippines has waited for an Olympic medal and after Daniel Caluag's exit in the BMX competition, we will wait for four more years.
And that's just for a medal of any kind.
For a gold medal? Since joining in 1924--based on an online record compiled by Frank Santos-Viola--we've had two silver medals, and seven bronze medals and zero gold medals.
Pathetic, isn't it?
And, like I said, it's not that we suck at sports globally, we just suck when it comes to Olympic sports. Manny Pacquiao, Paeng Nepomuceno, Efren Reyes are icons in their sports, which happen to be not of the Olympic variety.
In the youth level, we have the Manila softball team, which recently bagged the Big League World Series title over California, 14-2, making up for its finals losses in 2008, 2010 and 2011. And before you entertain notions that these kids could be our Olympic champions, softball, like baseball, is no longer part of the Olympic program.
Which leaves us with what? Boxing? It's such a crooked sport that even if we send a Manny Pacquiao clone who'll send his foe to the canvas four times in the last minute he'd still lose! (And it happened in London).
What other sport should we concentrate on if not boxing?
Archery and shooting? These are quite expensive sports and just expanding the talent pool for these events would take millions of pesos. BMX? Daniel Caluag, the only Asian who made it, didn't even make it to the semifinals.
We can't do it the way China goes about their program, identifying kids early for what sport they'd be suited based on their physical attributes.
Despite this latest debacle, I still think Abap should continue its boxing program, and I think they have the best grassroots program among all NSAs. But aside from that, I think the PSC, too, should increase support to taekwondo, archery and shooting, because these are sports where we have a realistic chance of winning a gold medal.
Taekwondo already has a national tournament and the Palarong Pambansa to discover talents from, while archery only has the palaro.
As for shooting? I don't know if the NSA has national tournaments for Olympic events but because it’s such an expensive sport, it's pool of talent is limited. But the fact that we had an entry in the Olympic event is proof that this sport deserves PSC support.
By the way, the PSC will be a favorite target for politicians in the next few days, and there will be calls for resignations after this latest 0-0-0.
But the PSC doesn't run the national teams, it's the various NSAs that do. So instead of asking PSC chairman Ritchie Garcia to hand in his walking papers, I think we should have a rundown on who runs which NSA and for how long and what have they done.
Don’t you think it’s time these lifetime rulers tell us what exactly they have been doing in their fiefdoms? (Did you know the first time I learned we had an NSA for wrestling was when I read in the papers there were two presidents fighting for the same position?)
Their favorite refrain is they can’t do anything because they don’t have any money, but hey, check out those softball players from Manila. They don’t have much, and they even almost missed the tournament due to lack of funds. Guess what they did?
Sports will never get the support it needs, not in this third-world country whose Olympic dream gets tackled by politicians only after the latest debacle.
I think we need NSA leaders who can work around that problem, and not blame the government for lack of doleouts.
Oh well, see you in four years!