Elite athletes ignore PSC priority program for SEAGBy June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia yesterday admonished athletes who continue to ignore the government’s priority program for the 2013 Southeast Asian Games.
Up to now, Garcia said that since the program was launched four months back, nobody from the 145 elite athletes has availed of the financial support that PSC has earmarked for them to boost their medal chances in the Myanmar SEAG next year.
“Until now, not a single athlete has availed of the allowances and the opportunity for extensive training that we offered,” said Garcia.
“We cannot do anything if they decide not to take it. But don’t blame us if the national team doesn’t perform well in the SEA Games,” he added.
The 145 athletes, all medalists in last year’s SEA Games in Indonesia, were set to receive full financial backing from the government, including a monthly allowance of P40,000 for the gold medalists.
“There’s no movement. We haven’t received any application. Unless they move, we will not have a good performance (in the SEA Games),” said Garcia.
But it seems there’s more than meets the eye in the athletes’ continued resistance to take the bait.
A coach and a former athlete from a perennial medal performer in the SEA Games told the Inquirer that committing themselves to the program of the PSC would prevent them from taking other jobs on the side.
“After practice, most athletes do other jobs like coaching and teaching, allowing them to earn more,” the source said.
The PSC made it clear that signing up for the program is a full-time commitment, leaving athletes no other choice but to focus on training to keep themselves in top condition.