EVEN as the Philippine Olympic Committee, headed by president Peping Cojuangco has yet to resolve pending leadership disputes in several National Sports Associations like tennis, volleyball and swimming, among others, a looming battle in another NSA looms, this time in sepak takraw.
The sport is led by feisty president Karen Tanchanco Caballero, who just had her NSA re-incorporated with the Securities and Exchange Commission as the Pilipinas Sepak Takraw Association.
Sepak Takraw has been growing with a nationwide developmental program put in place by Caballero, fueled by the fact that the sport has delivered a gold medal in a world championship, with chinlone under the wing of the NSA officially.
The brewing conflict is due to a recent organizational meeting last Nov. 15 in Myanmar, where the sport of chinlone originated, hosted by the Asian Chinlone Federation. As previously discussed with Caballero by federation officials, chinlone, since its debut in the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar, is under sepak takraw.
“I was just shocked to know that the meeting had pushed through with Steve Hontiveros attending on behalf of the POC and the POC did not even have the decency to inform me being the president of the NSA responsible for the sport,” said Caballero, adding that she heard the POC will set up a separate NSA for chinlone here.
“To think that their plea was to even borrow athletes from my NSA, to which I will not agree. In fact our plan is to boycott the event if ever it is included in the 2019 SEA Games, which we will host here,” added Caballero citing the fact, too, that in the last SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, her NSA sent sepak athletes for a monthlong training in Myanmar as the Philippines participated in the discipline for the first time and bagged a silver medal.
In the coming POC General Assembly on Nov. 29, Caballero intimated she plans to confront Hontiveros and ask if he really wants to head chinlone, aside from heading two other sports—bowling and netball.
“If so, I am willing to give it to him but he should come up with his own developmental program for the sport and deliver in 2019 as we did this year. He has to source out his own athletes in that case, but I heard, too, that he may end up using out of school youth to be trained in the sport,” she said.
Hontiveros confirmed that chinlone is still under sepak takraw, but that it was a temporary arrangement only and that his getting invited and attending the recent meeting was an NOC matter and not an NSA case.
He posed his own question as to why Caballero was not invited by the organizers.
Caballero, on the other hand, in follow up talks with the organizers, was told they were surprised at her absence from the meeting.