IF THE Philippines is to create sports superstars and excel in international sporting competitions like the Olympics, it must re-dedicate itself to the proven concept of the private and public sectors joining hands to spur sports development from the grassroots to the national and international levels.
This was emphasized by senatorial candidate Martin Romualdez as he called on both the government and business sectors, as well as corporate sports patrons to show “real malasakit to athletes to make them realize their full potentials in bringing glory to flag and country.”
Romualdez cited the success of the Project Gintong Alay in the 1980s, which saw corporations adopt athletes from their chosen sporting disciplines to nurture them into world-class competitors like then track superstars Lydia de Vega and Elma Muros.
A guest senatorial candidate of the United Nationalist Alliance and also endorsed by PDP-Laban presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte, Romualdez noted with concern the seeming lack of excitement in the local sporting community with the Rio de Janeiro Olympics a scant six months away.
Only a handful of Filipino athletes have qualified or have been given funding to participate in the Rio Olympics.
“We have to focus on winning future competitions, notably the Asian Games and the Olympics,” said Romualdez. “In sports competitions, champions are made and not miraculously born.”
“Athletic prowess has been a source of pride and morale, and a tool in nation-building in many countries because it mirrors a healthy citizenry,” added Romualdez.
“In our case, we seem to be embracing the cult of mediocrity,” said Romualdez. “It’s time we got sportsmen and women down there in the ring and on the court who are real contenders.”
Project Gintong Alay was a success, said Romualdez, because corporate sponsors adopted athletes and provided them sufficient allowances that allowed them to train full-time knowing their families would have food on the table.