PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — A SENATORIAL bet of the Kapatiran Party is batting for the creation of a Philippine Sports Institute that would resuscitate the country’s sports program by developing world-class athletes.
“Countries like the U.S., China and Australia have one sports institute that trains their athletes and the result is outstanding. This is the sports model that our country should follow,” Atty. Jo Imbong said.
First, the sports institute that Imbong is proposing will provide scientific training, considered as the key behind the outstanding performance of pound-for-pound champ Manny Pacquiao and other world-class athletes.
Aside from scientific training, the institute will provide nutrition, free education, housing, state-of-the-art training equipment and retirement benefits to all national athletes.
“Once athletes retire, they should be given priority as coaches, trainers of younger players or employed in government and private sectors in other distinctive capacities,” Imbong said.
She said the creation of a Philippine Sports Institute will be the beginning of a great sports era that will restore our country’s pride.
Imbong emphasized that the lackluster showing of Philippine sports delegations in international competitions like the Olympics does not speak well of government support for RP sports.
“Except for the milestones in boxing and a few gold medals here and there, the country’s harvest of medals remains undistinctive,” she said.
“Imagine, after 85 years of participating in the Olympics, we boast of only nine medals. That’s seven bronze and two silver medals since 1924,” she added.
In the ongoing SEA Games in Laos, Imbong observed that small countries like Vietnam and Singapore are faring well compared to the Philippines.
Also, Imbong said the present sports setup is divisive and unproductive.
“Sports committees outmatch each other, much to the neglect of the true needs of our athletes,” she said.
The lady lawyer, herself an avid tennis player, said the present setup of giving incentives worth millions to win an Olympic gold, or hundreds of thousands in SEA Games, are just patchwork measures “if athletes are not nurtured as they should be — grooming them from childhood with full training, scholarships and incentives.”