Friday, August 17, 2012

Fair Play: The sad state of Philippine sports

SO Sen. Francisco Pangilinan has called for a review of the effectiveness of both the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee after yet another dismal Olympic campaign.

I think, that move, in itself epitomizes the problem of Philippine sports--we have a government that only shows its concern when it becomes ideal to do so.  Wasn't this same call made in 2000, 2004 and 2008?

It never got us anywhere.  Calls like this becomes precisely that, a call.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, actually, started a similar move last year by filing a bill that would have abolished the PSC and created a cabinet-level Department of Sports.  But, again, that move reeked of politics.

Sen. Trillanes, like Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, got himself elected the head of an NSA which had two factions, and the faction Sen. Trillanes belonged in the Table Tennis Association of the Philippines was one not supported by the PSC. The Tatap infighting got one group accused another of threatening to shoot one member.

While I doubt the sincerity of Sen. Pangilinan, I agree, something has to be done.  Something has to change.

Lack of funds, of course, is a problem.  But I don't think it's THE problem.  As I always love to point out, look at how Dan Palami and the Philippine Football Federation did it. Or even better, take the case of Ed Hayco and the Cebu City Sports Commission.  The CCSC doesn't have millions to fund a grassroots program, what it has is a leader with an infectious indomitable spirit and will. 

The CCSC wanted to promote chess among the schools, but they didn't have the teachers who can teach the players.

No problem, they got invited the chess-playing professionals of Cebu, the National and International Masters, got them to teach the teachers, who in turn, taught the students. No tournament? No problem.  They stated a classroom, school-wide, district-wide, then city-wide tournament, resulting to Cebu City getting the Guinness World Record for the most-participated tournament in the world with more than 40,000.

And that’s just with chess.  The CCSC has programs for other sports too that are driven by volunteers.

I wonder what the Sen. Pangilinan's review with the NSAs can do, but I hope, just this once, it will lead to changes.  

You see, because of their very set up, the different NSAs can spend the next two Olympics fighting each other and the goverment can't do squat about it.  All sports disputes, unless settled by the NSA itself, must be resolved through the Court of Arbitration in Sports, based in Switzerland.   

And the POC president?  It's like the position of the Philippine president--to get the votes so you can keep your position, you align yourself with strange bedfellows, which is why LP is now working with NP, right?

The NSA heads elect the POC president, a position of power, not only in the Philippines but internationally because you automatically get a seat in the International Olympic Committee.

Folks are calling for the blanket resignations of all sports officials, but I don’t agree with that, since that would punish those who are working for their sport, too.

If it was up to me, officers of all NSAs that haven’t produced a single medal in international competition should resign, so too, should all officials of all factions in NSAs that weren’t able to resolve their leadership squabble in less than a year. 

The PSC automatically get the blame for the failure of the NSAs to come up with a solid program for their players.  And what kind of players do we have? In one popular sport in the country, we had a national team, who, in order to keep their allowance, manufactured their training reports.

That shenanigan was made obvious when this national team lost to a bunch of ex-collegiate stars in a national competition.

Athletes, and NSAs like that, who are only concerned for themselves, have no place in Philippine sports. 

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