Saturday, December 21, 2013

Fair Play: Oh see, the POC finally sees it (I think)

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Dec. 21 issue)
EVERYBODY but the sports bodies thinks that the criteria for inclusion in the Philippine national team in the SEA Games is one big joke.

"Prove that you can win a gold medal," the POC president said months ago.

The SEA Games, the lowest tier in international competitions a national team can join, should be the gauge of our NTs of their own programs, of where they stand, so they can determine if they need improvements.

Not this stupid "you can go if you can win a gold medal rule."

The Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission should have sent all national teams whose sport were included in the Myanmar editions because that's their job. If a national team fails spectacularly, then it's up to the National Sports Association to address the ills of its programs and adapt changes.

This problem started with the men in charge of Philippine sports, Ritchie Garcia and Peping Cojuangco, when they said they want to send a lean delegation to the SEA Games as a sign of protest.

Pray, will someone tell me, how has Myanmar received the protest? Did the host even notice there is a protest?

This stupid protest is the reason why a bunch of athletes who should be there in Myanmar are stuck at home.

Someone should have told Peping and Ritchie a year ago, if they want to send a message of protest, then bring a damn placard and not play politics with the national athletes' careers on the line.

"It's nonsense looking at the gold medal, silver is just as good. We are going to keep our heads high. We fought hard and won ours legitimately," he was quoted recently.

Of course, the national athletes can keep their heads high, even if they lost.

Everybody knows they worked hard for it. But, that "we," I'm sorry to say Mr. Cojuangco, doesn't include you.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

But, what's done cannot be undone.

What's left to do after this year's fiasco?

For starters, in the next SEA Games, we send all national teams, that way, in the 2017 edition, each NSA should have enough time to adjust their programs should they perform poorly in the 2015 edition.

The SEA Games is in the lowest tier in international competitions, it should be the stepping stone for our Olympians. Does it surprise you that when the POC and PSC started sending lean and mean teams in 2000, we haven't won a single medal in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London?

Of course, some of the fans will be asking for Peping and Ritchie’s resignations, but that won’t happen.

In the POC, just like everything there is in the country, the change must come from the voters. And who are the people voting for the POC president? The NSA presidents! If you want to get rid of Peping, then get rid of the people who elect him.

How? By making sure the NSA president is one who is after the welfare of the sport, not one who is after the position.

As for the PSC, I actually like what Ritchie Garcia is doing—save of course, for that teeny-weeny thing of being Peping’s lap dog and this SEA Games issue. If the PSC succeeds in what they are trying to implement, every LGU in the country is going to have a genuine grassroots program patterned after the Cebu City Sports Commission.

After the 2001 SEA Games in Malaysia, when the Philippines finished fifth with 31 gold medals (the first of a series of worst performances ever) there were blanket calls of “It’s back to square one….they should resign)

It’s 2013, please let’s not wait 12 more years before we get our acts together.

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