19 November 2011
The Philippines at the SEAsian Games, Reflections of the our Country’s Character
It is said that the way individuals treat other people is a mirror image of their personality. Our country’s participation at International events is meant to showcase who we really are as a people.
Mostly the news that we get to read in newspapers or watch on television about international athletic events is the lack of preparation, politicalisation of the sports programmes, favouritism and nepotism, budget cuts and the like. It is always saddening to note the dismal situation that the Philippine athletic programmes have evolved into. So, for this short article, let me just make some observations about it in a nice way. I do hope I succeed in this effort.
First of all, many young Filipinos (like any other nationality) takes pride in representing the country at international events, for country (and not necessarily for the money, unlike one sports professional who keeps on covering up his avarice by mouthing nationalist objectives everytime he goes up the ring!). All of them should be given the chance to belong to the national team and compete with the best in the region. A step ladder type of development may have to be adopted so that those who have competed and who retire at a certain age will be replaced by other younger aspirants whose skills are already sharpened due to a good headstart in their training.
Second, the spirit and the fervour that young athletes develop in their formation should not be curtailed or ignored. It should in fact be supported adequately with sufficient and reasonable amount of resources. We know of many young people who, out of frustration, quits training due to lack of support – moral and much more!
Third, there seems to be a bias in covering events that seem have that notoriety (of being “exclusive”), but are not major events in competitions such as the Southeast Asian Games or the Asian Games. I am referring to sports such as the Go Kart and Formula 3 or motocross, whose only claim for being called a “sport” is good eye and hand coordination and “no sweat.” That so called exclusive label notoriety has socio economic implications, too, is only evident here in the country and is not necessarily so in the countries that regularly holds such events in the northern hemisphere. I would like to suggest, if I may, that the more significant sporting events be given prominence pretty much like what they did to soccer. Soccer enjoys more than average exposure in the European media, which contributes to its popularity in that part of the world. The organizers did the same here, when it was introduced, and the support plus the fans have been steadily growing ever since. That same exposure should be part of other sports – like pétanque, cycling or archery.
These observations are but a few of those that show how little the authorities think about the country’s participation. No matter how hyped up their media pronouncements are, the results give them away. It is about time (better late than never, as they say) that sufficient and regular attention be accorded to the concrete development of this aspect of our national activity. Everytime, our athletes fall short of their goals, vis a vis, the other SEAsian neighbours, it leaves a negative reflection of our identity as a people.#