Fil-foreigners’ legion to the rescue | Inquirer Sports

Fil-foreigners’ legion to the rescue

01:39 AM February 13, 2016

Boarding up the Philippine Sports Commission in favor of a Cabinet-level Department of Sports is old news from Michael Keon, the country’s former Philippine Olympic Committee chief.

And yet his fresh splash for the abolition of the PSC, the sole policy-making and tight-as-a-drum government agency that holds the purse strings for national sports associations, made waves last week after Keon talked with a member of the sports media.

With the start of the national election campaign, Keon’s timing couldn’t have been more perfect, perhaps to prompt the presidential candidates to finally make sports a part, if not a touchstone, of their plans for nation-building.

Keon said it is about time sports gets closer to the ear of the sitting President, and the only way to achieve that is via a new Department of Sports.


He says the biggest bonanza from the PSC’s demise is that during Cabinet meetings, the secretary of sports will have equal time with the President, along with the other Cabinet members.

“As things stand today, the PSC is too segregated from national governance. There is not enough monitoring of PSC activities and policy,” he reminded sports columnist Quinito Henson.

While his call for the PSC’s closure is recycled, Keon’s views about overseas-based athletes with Filipino heritage doing the fighting for us in global and continental sports wars is explosive.

With his Project: Gintong Alay program still considered the gold standard for local talent development, he laments the fact that we would have scored zero gold medals if not for the feat of Fil-American BMX rider Danny Caluag in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.


He pointed out that we would have won only one gold in athletics through locally trained steeplechaser Christopher Ulboc without the golds of Fil-Ams Eric Cray, Caleb John Stuart and Kaya Richardson in last year’s Southeast Asian Games.

Keon said that during the Gintong Alay days, “we had no policy of acquiring the services of [the overseas-based athletes] and we did not train overseas.”


He boasted that despite this, the Philippines landed second overall in the 1983 SEA Games in Singapore with a medal tally of 49 gold, 48 silver and 53 bronze medals.

In contrast, in the 2015 SEA Games, also in Singapore 32 years later, we placed a miserable sixth overall, with a medal haul of 29 golds, 36 silvers and 66 bronzes.

Keon said you don’t need to log on to Google Earth to find where athletes are in this country.

“It is teeming with talent everywhere, so knowing that, why do our sports officials look overseas?” he asks. “Because it is easier than implementing a genuine long-term developmental program.”

The former Ilocos Norte governor said nurturing champions is like traveling on a long road. “In order to traverse this road, you must invest time and money,” he stressed.

Keon said he is not against the legion of overseas-based athletes being deployed to sports hotspots by the NSAs that recruit them after training abroad with top-notch coaches and state-of-the-art equipment.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“But when you overly rely on them and use them to spearhead your campaigns, it begs the question: Where is our indigenous talent? What is happening to our local talent?”

TAGS: medal, PSC, rescue, Singapore

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.