PSC supports V8 Supercars event, after denying aid to dragon boat

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08:34 PM August 16th, 2011

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By: June Navarro, August 16th, 2011 08:34 PM

MANILA—A fortnight after turning a deaf ear to pleas for support from the reigning world champion dragon boat team, the Philippine Sports Commission has forged an agreement with an Australian firm that would bring the V8 Supercars Championship series to the country.

V8 Supercars, the largest event in global car racing after Formula One and Nascar, will include a leg at the Clark International Speedway sometime in 2013, V8 Supercars CEO Martin Whitaker announced Tuesday.

PSC commissioner Chito Loyzaga said the agency would assist the organizers headed by Toleman Motorsport Management on all government requirements for the staging of the weekend event, which is expected to boost tourism and open the doors to aspiring Filipino race car drivers.

But the development comes after the PSC was widely criticized for not supporting the Cobra Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) squad that competed recently in the world championships in Florida and won five gold medals.

Prior to that meet, the squad was also reigning world champions and owners of world record times.

The squad competed in the United States largely from contributions from Asia Brewery and help from the Filipino-American community there, who pitched in to help feed the Philippine rowers and give them a place to stay.

The PSC decision was based on the Philippine Olympic Committee’s refusal to recognize the PDBF because it does not have an international federation under the International Olympic Committee.

A household name in Australia, the V8 Supercars falls under the Federation Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA), the world governing body for motorsports, which is not part of the IOC or the Association of IOC Recognized International Sports Federations.

Whitaker said the event could put the Philippines in the center of Asia during the races since it has a potential viewership of 310,000,000 all over the continent.

Toleman commercial director Rafael Toda explained that local race car drivers would be given the opportunity to harness their craft on the international level through hands-on training and seminars on safety and efficient driving.

“We’re pushing for the development of Filipino talent in the motorsports environment,” said Toda. “To make it happen, we will invite local racing groups to allow local drivers to participate in an international platform.”

Whitaker added the staging in the Philippines would be added to the 2013 calendar.

“Our objective at the PSC is to provide leadership in developing a unified approach to the promotion of national sporting events,” said PSC chair Ritchie Garcia.

“The championship represents the high caliber events that we would like to attract to the Philippines and demonstrates admirably the increasingly important link among sports, business, bilateral trade and tourism,” added Garcia.

The objectives of the PSC as stated in Republic Act No. 6847, the law which created the office, is:

To provide the leadership, formulate the policies and set the priorities and direction of all national amateur sports promotion and development, particularly giving emphasis on grassroots participation;

To encourage wide participation of all sectors, government and private, in amateur sports promotion and development;

And to supplement government appropriations for sports promotion and development.

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