What’s ailing PH sports?By Hidelito Pascual
Cebu Daily News
A statement was issued by Philippine Olympic Committee Chairman Jose Cojuangco that there is no need for a sports summit among sports stakeholders to determine what’s wrong with Philippine sports. In gist Mr. Cojungco said, everybody knows what’s wrong with Philippine sports, it is just a matter of doing something about it.
But does the POC really know what’s ailing Philippine sports?
Let me concentrate on Philippine boxing, of which I know a little, having worked with ALA Boxing to promote and develop amateur boxing in Mandaue City.
In the four years that we have given amateur boxers of the four amateur boxing clubs in the city regular boxing bouts, a good number of them have proven to have at least skills that could compete in the national level.
In fact, in all regional and national tournaments, Mandaue City boxers have always figured prominently, winning at least a couple of gold medals.
And yet, none of them was given an opportunity to vie for a spot in the national pool of boxers.
Maybe it dates way back to that time when an elimination bout was held between boxers in the national pool and boxers from the Cebu boxing clubs. My memory is no longer that accurate, but as a result of that process, boxers from Cebu would have made it to the national team, including potential medal winner Edito Villamor.
But the ABAP voided the process and ordered another series of elimination bouts.
ALA bucked the ABAP directive and the ALA boxers who deserved to be in the national team were robbed of the opportunity to represent the country.
If I remember correctly, it was at this point when ALA shifted its priority to professional boxing. It was only recently that ALA’s interest in amateur boxing was revived, convinced that the intention of Mandaue City to promote amateur boxing is genuine.
At least one of the major objectives of the program which was to bring back the prominence of Mandaue City in the national boxing scene has been achieved.
Unfortunately, there is nothing which could keep the better skilled boxers in the amateur ranks. The lure of money in the professional arena is so tempting, and the moment they hit the peak of their amateur careers, they immediately jump and join the pros.
If you still do not know the open secret as to what the problem of Philippine amateur boxing is, it is politics. The same ailment hounds most National Sports Associations.
I therefore believe that there is a need for a summit among the stakeholders of amateur boxing and arrive at a modus vivendi and a modus operandi how to resuscitate the almost moribund Philippine amateur boxing program.
It is really a pity if Philippine amateur boxing is not revived. If we can be honest with ourselves, boxing is really the only sport where we can consider the Filipino athlete at par with the rest of the world.
Looking at the entries in boxing at the the 2012 London Olympics, so many of the amateur boxers that we have would have made it to the games, given the correct training, exposure and motivation to become world champions. All that is needed is for the gods of Philippine amateur boxing to do the right things right.
For instance, very few, if any of the Olympic medalists were newbies or green horns. The gold medalist in the weight category of Barriga was Olympic Champion in the 2008 Beijing Games. He is now 32 years old and so easily he has been boxing for at least 16 years.
The only reason why boxers turn pro is for the money. So if the amateur boxer is given financial security until he ends his amateur career, I will bet that they would rather stick with amateur boxing, rather than take on the risks of professional boxing.
ABAP can also establish training pools in the different established amateur boxing strongholds. Bago City, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Mandaue City just to name a few.
This will give the trainors in every center to prove which of their methods work, rather than put all the eggs in one basket—the national pool trained by coaches who have not proven their worth in the last few years.
Just a few of the immediately doable things.
If a promising boxer who is a world caliber potential is given the same allowance as a member of the Philippine Smart Gilas Basketball Team, do you think he would still think of turning pro?
Where did Roel and Onyok Velasco learn their boxing skills?
ABAP just rode on their skills that were honed in their native Bago City, and they ended up reaping glory for the country. Coaching and training methods can immediately be enhanced through a crash program.
Those who love boxing, dream of Olympic medals and are part of the solution should therefore set aside their pride and work together for the good of the sport.
Tags: sports events