Terrible tennis tangle
The election of 82-year-old Jose “Peping” Cojuangco to a sorry fourth term as the country’s Olympic chief last November has metastasized into the shameless behavior of people at the helm of problematic national sports associations.
A case in point is the stand of tennis head Salvador Andrada to stubbornly cling to power after almost two decades.
Propped up by obedient members of his board who have continuously messed up their sport, the sickly 81-year-old Andrada will have to be dragged from the stage instead of making a grand exit.
Elected by acclamation as returning president of the Philippine Tennis Association earlier, Andrada quickly announced his resignation the other day in the face of protest by the sport’s stakeholders. But he has changed his mind at the drop of a hat in the past, nobody is buying his story.
The Philta is in a lamentable state under Andrada and his cohorts, says my bosom buddy Ding Marcelo.
Marcelo, longtime sports editor of a rival daily, wrote in a column recently that since tennis has no grassroots program, respectable local talents are few and far between.
He said the sport continues to hitch its future to foreign born stars who are “mercenaries” at best on the international level.
Plotting and scheming NSAs like Andrada’s Philta will be under the microscope, says Philippine Sports Commission Chair Butch Ramirez.
“I will be demanding results,” Ramirez told me. “The first time I was PSC Chair (in 2005), we failed to implement our grassroots program.”
Ramirez said mistakes that happened in the past won’t happen again. “I have the support of the President,” he said. “We will turn things around.”
The PSC Chair says deserving NSAs under the Philippine Olympic Committee will concentrate on foreign exposure with ample government and private funding.
The PSC will focus on the countryside via national and regional sports programs, including out-of-school youth activities.
Ramirez said the days of the four PSC commissioners overseeing 10 NSAs each are over. He did not explain why.
“Wala na yong barkadahan,” (No more bonding). He said all NSAs will now be under the supervisory authority of the Chair.
The top priority of his term is to get the Philippine Sports Institute going now that it has been launched, according to Ramirez.
With a monthly budget of P25 million, the PSI will emphasize performance training for Filipino athletes, with grassroots development and sports science as the main objectives.