Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., president of the Philippine Olympic Committee, urges the Filipino youth to get into sports. He talks about collaboration among government agencies like the POC and Department of Education in giving opportunities to the youth, making it easy for them to join competitions, especially in the provinces. He is also hopeful the Philippine contingent to the London Olympics will bring home medals. Video by INQUIRER.net’s Ryan Leagogo
MANILA, Philippines—Wide-eyed students were gathered Friday as part of the country’s drive to get the youth into sports during the celebration of the founding of the International Olympic Committee at the Marikina Sports Complex.
And from the hundreds of kids, there seated under the bright morning sun, just might be the Philippine’s next athlete.
“This is our target. This is the target of the Philippine Olympic Committee with the Philippine Sports Commission to present opportunities for the youth of the country to be able to play sports that is why we have been inviting and working with the Department of Education so that we can bring different kinds of sports to different provinces and cities,” said POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr.
“So that our youth’s able to see that getting into sports is easy and that this is what they have to do. We’re following the steps also of other countries in the world. We’re doing the same thing here as best as we can.”
In close to a month from now, the Philippine contingent of nine athletes— the smallest delegation since the 1996 Atlanta Games—will compete in their respective events.
Marestella Torres in long jump, Jasmine Alkhaldi and Jessie Lacuna in swimming, lone boxer Mark Anthony Barriga, Rene Herrera in steeple chase, Daniel Cagara in BMX, Tomohiko Hoshina in judo, Brian Rosario in skeet shooting and Hidilyn Diaz in weightlifting.
“The chances (of getting a medal) are very hard to predict because we don’t know what kind of opposition we’re meeting,” said Cojuangco. “Although I’m hopeful.”
Dubbed ‘The Lucky 9′ team though, the country won’t just hope on pure luck alone.
“There really might be some here who brings home a medal because we know that they are capable of winning,” added Cojuangco.