Abap told of what it did wrong
TO THE question on where they went wrong in the Rio Olympics, the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap) received a jolting jab and wake-up reply.
Filipino boxers, said the answer, failed miserably because they had chosen to take the short-cut route.
The way the comment was worded, it was not meant to scathe or accuse. It was an honest-to-goodness advice.
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“The boxers were given EVERYTHING yet they didn’t deliver,” noted national sports development guru Dr. Aparicio Mequi.
Big money is not everything in the Olympic medal hunt?
Not exactly, said Dr. Mequi, former head of the Philippine Sports Commission.
“Someone said—I can’t recall who—that MAHILIG ANG FILIPINO SA SHORTCUT,” he said.
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Dr. Mequi explained: “Data show that it takes a minimum of ten years to get an athlete to compete at the international level assuming, of course, that TALENT, COMMITMENT, DISCIPLINE AND SENSE OF SACRIFICE are embedded in the character of the athlete.”
Of course, Dr. Mequi also knows that the inappropriate search and preparation was not the lone culprit that caused the Philippine boxing team to fail and and fall in the Rio de Janeiro Summer Games.
There were other honest mistakes, like the failure to draw the most number of talents from the grassroots’ widest possible base.
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For example, there’s world boxing great Manny Pacquiao, who did not mince words in claiming that it was from a narrow and limited field that the Abap, under president Ricky Vargas, was able to source out members of the national boxing pool.
“In Mindanao alone, we’ve a very rich field from where they could’ve properly identified boxing talents,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao added he has actually formed his own small stable of future internationalists from this source in his region.
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For its part, the Abap did venture on nationwide talent search and identification through regional competitions.
Unfortunately, this well-funded, well-meaning method succeeded only in scratching the surface and sourcing from the so-called top-soil of the talent-rich field. There were many other gifted aspirants, future medalists, who could’ve excelled if only they had been properly identified and tapped.
It was not discriminatory, the way Abap did the talent search and discovery but, at the same time, the method used was not exactly fool-proof. The poor results submitted in the Rio Olympics would bear out a grave mistake.
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