Young athletes need a lot of sacrifices, time and resources to achieve their ultimate dreams in sports. There’s one intangible factor, though, that could complete their recipe for success—motivation.
Their parents and their personal sports idols may have already been providing the inspiration. To up the motivation, give them the recognition they deserve and that could push them to work harder and better.
The POC-PSC Media Group, the core of sportswriters covering the national athletes, will confer awards and recognition to young Filipino athletes, aged 17 years old and below, who have excelled in both the local and international scenes.
To be called Siklab Awards, the recognition body is the first of its kind in the country to be given every year in cooperation with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the other stakeholders and other non-government institutions.
The 1st Siklab Awards Night is set in April.
“This should serve as an inspiration to our young athletes, our rising stars, to achieve greater heights. We are so excited to be part of this pioneering endeavor,” said Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) Training Director Mark Velasco, who’s tasks include the propagation of the PSC’s grassroots program involving children from the countryside.
One of his brainchild programs is the Children’s Games that has been recognized by the United Nation for its role in developing values for children.
Major highlights of the Awards are the Young Heroes awardees who have brought honor to the country in international competitions.
Among the nominees are Rex Luis Krog in cycling, Samantha Kyle Catantan in fencing and Veruel Verdadero in athletics.
Seventeen-year-old Rex Luis Krog made the Philippines proud in bagging the silver medal in the Asian Cycling Championship in Myanmar, where he was just 11 seconds behind the top winner from Japan.
A 10th grader at Lorraine Senior High School in Caloocan, Krog also won a gold medal in the Tawau Cycling Challenge in Malaysia, last December 2017.
A product of Batang Pinoy, Luis ended the medal drought of Philcycling after seven long years and is now ready to take the road for another cycling adventure.
Catantan, at 15 years old, was included in the in the roster to represent the country in last year’s Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia. She did not disappoint as she copped a silver medal in the fencing foil event.
Catantan was the two-time champion of the junior Universities Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and was recently named as the Most Valuable Player of the league in junior’s event.
Verdadero emerged the “Fastest Man” in last year’s Palarong Pambansa in Sultan Kudarat by winning the century dash.
A 15-year old 9th grader at Emilio Aguinaldo College in Dasmarinas,Verdadero was also a bronze medalist of Southeast Asian Youth Athletics championship that was held in Ilagan, Isabela. After that, he bagged the gold for the 400m and 100m dash in the last year’s staging of Palarong Pambansa.
“By doing this Siklab Awards, we hope to inspire and motivate our youth to strive more and lead the next generation of vibrant leaders,” said the media group’s president, June Navarro.
Navarro said more than 50 rising stars from different sports disciplines will be awarded.
Equally significant is the Batang Siklab trophies to be given to those who have excelled in local tournaments, including their National Sports Association’s national age-group tournaments, the PSC’s Batang Pinoy and Children’s Games, and the Palarong Pambansa, organized annually by the Department of Education.
To top it all, Siklab will also choose two to three Sports Idols awardees, who will serve as models for the young athletes to emulate in their quest for greater glory.
In the nominee list are Olympic silver medalists, Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco of boxing and Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting.
Velasco bagged the flyweight silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He narrowly missed the gold by losing in a tight final contest to eventual gold winner Daniel Petrov Bujilov from Bulgaria.
Twenty years later, a female lifter from Zamboanga duplicated Velasco’s feat.
Diaz became the third Filipino silver medalist in the Olympics and the first female athlete from the Philippines to bring home an Olympic medal.
The country’s first silver medal came from another boxer, featherweight Anthony Villanueva, in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
The Philippines has so far won 10 medals, seven are bronze.
The Philippines has not yet won an Olympic gold medal since competing in the inaugural in 1924.
With this in mind, the media group will also launch during the Siklab Awards, a sports program for street children in partnership with a non-government organization, Buklod-Lingap Foundation in putting up the Seeds of Greatness project.
Seeds of Greatness will try to look for the diamond in the rough by allowing street children to participate in different kinds of sports under the mentorship of coaches from the Philippines national team scheduled every weekend.
This life-changing experience for underprivileged kids will not only teach them the benefits of getting into sports but it will also help us identify new talents for the national team through unconventional means.
Buklod Lingap chairman Edward Aguilar said they will start the program first in Metro Manila, extending to nearby province before going nationwide.
“Who knows, baka ang first gold medalist natin sa OIympics ay batang galing sa sa lansangan,” he said.
Meanwhile, it’s time to shine for current young achievers, who will, at the right time, will take over the place of their more illustrious seniors in the national team.
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