IT is said that the first Olympics took place in Greece. The strongest men among nations took part in the games and during that time, all the warring nations of early civilizations become united for the love of the games.
That tradition still exists in modern times, as athletes from all races and religions gather under one roof every four years to compete in what is now known as the modern Olympic Games. The best of the best compete against each other in their bid for greatness and to bring home that glittering gold medal.
It’s a badge of honor for the athletes. But you don’t have to have the same Olympics for sports to become an instrument of unity.
Martial arts sport, for one, is good example. Sir Henry Kobayashi, founder of Hybrid Yawyan has been organizing a mixed martial arts tournament called Balikatan whose main feature is the battle of warriors between the Philippines and India.
Among the Indian fighters in action yesterday at the Marikina Sports Center was international martial artist Hapreet Kaur. She was the only female among four Indian warriors representing the highly touted Budo Kai Do Mixed Martial Arts Federation of India.
Kaur was to take on Beverly Sayod of Hybrid-Yawwan, making her debut in the event organized by Sir Henry Kobayashi.
“We have a growing relationship with our Indian brothers in martial arts. Like the Philippines, India has a deep sense of martial arts tradition. With this Balikatan event, we are helping each other in catching with the growth of MMA in Asia,” said Kobayashi.
Boxing is another sport that provides sanity to the deteriorating diplomatic relationship between China and the Philipines, thanks to Brico Santig’s Highland Promotions and Liu Gang’s Zowi Boxing.
The give-and-take relationship is simple. Santig provides the trainers for Liu’s stable of boxers. Liu, who has earned reputation as one of the biggest promoters in China, get Filipino boxers from Santig. The Filipinos are always prioritized in Liu’s promotion.
No less than OPBF chairman Ramon Guanzon has lauded the cooperation between China and the Philippines in boxing.
“We are happy to be part of China’s emergence in professional boxing. And Mr. Liu, in particular, is also very helpful to our Filipino boxers,” added Guanzon, who is also the chairman of the Games and Amusement of Board.
Don’t look far though.
One Meralco Foundation and the Philippine Marine Corps is using football to unite the future generations of this country.
Just recently, they hosted more than 200 kids from Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Misamis, Lanao del Sur, Pagadian, Bohol, and Palawan for a football festival at the Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City
“It’s an ongoing activity year in and year out, which culminates in the ‘Football for Peace’ in Manila,” said event co-founder Rookie Nagtalon.
“The good thing here is that the kids from Mindanao were also mixed with children from Manila to remove some sort of barrier that exists.”
Marine Lt. Col. Stephen L. Cabanlet, who started the football for peace program, said they will continue doing and making the program sustainable.
“We are building a generation of love and peace. We will begin the remove the culture of hatred. Sport can really become a uniting force of a nation,” he said.