Unending drought of sports leadership
Veteran scribe Eddie Alinea blew his top recently while noticing the dearth of discussion about sports among this year’s presidential aspirants.
He observes that the five candidates are promising reforms and good governance, and yet they are saying nothing about extending these to underline the role of the youth through sports, in nation-building.
The idea of a “healthy and alert citizenry” is in the Constitution, observes Alinea, an elder statesman of the local sportswriting colony. He says it is carved in stone, much like the Ten Commandments Moses brought down from Mount Sinai.
Indeed, as highlighted by Alinea, the Charter’s Article XIV, Section 19 says: “The State shall promote physical education and encourage sports programs, league competitions and amateur sports, including training for international competitions to foster self-discipline, teamwork and excellence…”
Sadly and oddly enough, nothing’s been done out in the hustings about keeping athletic development, current sports maladies and their cures.
In a hotly contested election, candidates would have mesmerized the nation with the mention of sports as part of their platforms while making eye contact with the masses and angling for votes during the three presidential debates.
But let’s face it. Campaign managers are probably ignoring sports for a simple reason. They could not find a single, epic Philippine feat in sports to crow about and anchor their candidates’ sports programs to.
The same scenario would likely unfold when President Aquino’s successor takes office in June. The new Malacañang tenant would have bigger fish to fry and would easily slip into the gallery of chief executives, including the incumbent who cared not about sports, disheartening millions of young Filipinos from honestly pursuing a life in sports.
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The Palace’s acute apathy for sports is worsened by the lack of batters willing to step up to the plate to face incumbent Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco Jr.
In Cojuangco’s 12 years in the pilot’s seat, wreckages of our repeated crashes in the Olympics, the Asian Games and even at a glorified barangay league called the Southeast Asian Games are strewn all over the place.
The 81-year-old former Pampanga congressman has indicated his desire to run for an unprecedented fourth term when the POC—a highly politicized private Olympic body that pulls the levers behind the curtains for the government-funded NSAs—elects new officers in the last week of November this year.
But faced with the prospect of another bad sports era in the next administration, possible contenders are not coming out in the open, extending the drought of sports leaders willing to run against Cojuangco.
I am quite certain activists out there, including some lawmakers who are reformers on paper, are raring to get off their high horses to clash with Cojuangco.
Unfortunately, these personalities screaming their lungs out for reforms do not belong or lack the official tenure in an NSA. To campaign for the POC’s top banana, you must have served four years previously as head of a national association for an Olympic sport.
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