PH-China sports deal frozen; PSC eyes RussiaBy June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
THE CURRENT standoff between the Philippines and China over the disputed Scarborough Shoal is affecting the country’s sports program.
Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia yesterday said Chinese officials have not been fulfilling their end of a memorandum of understanding between the two nations that allows Filipino athletes to train in ultramodern facilities under the best coaches in China.
“The MOU is still in effect. We’re trying to communicate with our counterpart on how they can accommodate our athletes, and we have been getting a slow response,” said Garcia.
The Philippines and China have yet to reach an agreement on the disputed territory in the West Philippine Sea off Zambales, although Garcia refused to comment on whether this is affecting the application of the MOU.
Instead, the PSC chief is targeting Russia as an alternate viable training destination for the priority athletes.
“But sending our athletes there can be expensive because it’s far and the weather might be too extreme for the athletes,” said Garcia.
The PSC named 145 priority athletes, all medalists in last year’s Southeast Asian Games. They are entitled to foreign training on top of a P40,000 monthly paycheck in a bid to capture more gold medals in the 2013 games in Myanmar.
The Philippines placed sixth with 36 gold medals in the biennial meet held in Indonesia, the country’s worst finish in decades.