Monday, January 06, 2014

Fair Play: Borrowing Noynoy's words to solve the ills of PHL sports

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Jan. 6 issue)
I THOUGHT Philippine Olympic Committee president Peping Cojuangco got it but his latest statement showed that he hasn’t.

Never have I seen the critics of Philippine sports so united as they were in the previous SEA Games in Myanmar, where the Philippines had the latest version of its worst finish with 29 golds, 34 silvers and 38 bronze medals.


And during the awarding of incentives for the SEA Games medalist, Peping fired back.

In an article aptly headlined “Peping goes ballistic,” a sports website said the POC president called critics of the SEA games campaign as paid hacks or idiots.

While telling the athletes not to listen to the critics of the SEA Games, he said, “Dalawang klase lang ‘yan, mga jukebox, ibig sabihin kapag nahulugan ng pera, hindi na lalabas ‘yung kanta. Yung iba naman, masyadong tatanga-tanga, hindi nakakaintindi ng sports.”

Those words had me shaking my head and asking, “Is this the president of our Olympic Committee” just as a couple of months ago, not a few shook their heads and asked, is this the president of the Philippines?

I was one of the first who criticized the POC and PSC for Cojuangco, I must be a paid hack since I’d like to think that I know my sports.

What Cojuangco doesn’t understand, or refused to understand, is that the criticisms were never aimed at the national athletes but at the PSC and POC themselves for their ridiculous criteria adopted in forming the national team.

And how dare him say the critics don’t understand anything about sports when the POC and PSC themselves decided to form a lean and mean Philippine delegation as a message to how Myanmar was holding the games?

Where’s the spirit of sports in that?

We don’t understand sports? How about we turn the table against him and ask him if he, the president of the Olympic committee, really understands sports?

If he knew sports, why then did the POC/PSC dilly-dally in the final composition of our SEA Games lineup, putting preparations on hold until two months before the SEA Games?

Let’s cite the case of the Philippine men’s U23 football team, the one that failed to get the blessing of the PSC and POC to compete in the SEA Games because they didn’t meet their “gold medalist potential only” criteria.

The Myanmar SEA Games was supposed to be the one where the PFF would correct their mistakes in 2011 and the team had everything mapped out—training camps and friendlies—but was put on hold because the team’s stint in the SEAG was uncertain.

Anyone who knows his sport knows preparation is everything, but how can you prepare if two months before the SEAG you don’t even know if you get to compete?

Critics are paid hacks? Well sir, how about this. All of those whose stints in the SEA Games were cut because of the POC/PSC criteria, worked hard to get their national team spots, they weren’t handed to them because they had a nephew as the president.

Critics don’t know what they are talking about? Then, let me simplify it for the POC president.

THE. PROBLEM. IS. THE. POC AND PSC. There! We wouldn’t be having this discussion if ONLY the POC and PSC didn’t decide to play politics. Is that simple enough for you or should I sing it for you ala jukebox?

Don’t you get it, Peping? The problem in Philippine sports is you.

And to paraphrase his nephew, “Sa’an kaya kumukuha ng kapal ng mukha ang mga lider ng mga ahensiyang ito?”

We got into this mess because our sports leaders decided to play politics. He said those who criticize the SEA Games campaign failed to understand the sacrifices and hard work of the national teams, overlooking the fact that they played with the lives and future of our national athletes by trying to send a message to Myanmar.

Though the POC is not a government agency, we can again quote Peping’s nephew by the river, “If you cannot do your job, you do not deserve to remain in office.”

So fellow jukeboxes, let’s do ala Miley Cyrus....If you cannot DOOO...your job... re-re-re-signnnn!

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