Hope that Bedoya’s boldness inspires
It is unlikely that American soccer star Alejandro Bedoya’s activism to rouse public servants asleep at the wheel will be duplicated here anytime soon.
Let’s face it. National sports associations (NSAs) are dependent on government funds, with modest help from private coffers. Professional athletes, meanwhile, are paid by companies that have to deal with the bureaucracy to transact business.
The hope is that Bedoya’s boldness on Sunday could resonate with local athletes, emboldening them to use their popular platforms in prompting elected officials to act in time against pressing issues like corruption in public entities and the police’s violent war on drugs.
Bedoya, the Philadelphia Union captain, was on the pitch in Washington on Sunday—just hours after the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that claimed the lives of 31 people—when he was compelled to act.
After scoring during his team’s 5-1 victory over DC United in a Major League Soccer match at Audie Field, Bedoya sprinted over to the field microphone and yelled on live television, “Hey, Congress, do something now. End gun violence. Let’s go.”
Bedoya, a former US national soccer team player, has spoken loudly on the gun crisis before. He grew up in Weston, Florida, a town near Parkland, where a deranged man with a high-powered rifle shot and killed students at the local high school.
The mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend were also carried out by gunmen with violent ideologies and armed with assault style automatic weapons that the American Congress has failed to ban or regulate.
“I’m a human being first before I am an athlete,” Bedoya told CNN. “I hope my voice leads to some action. One person dead is one person too many.”
NSAs have submitted the number of qualified athletes they plan to field in the 30th Southeast Asian Games the country is hosting in Clark City and several venues three months from now.
They will have to send their final list of entries by name next month to William Ramirez, Philippine Sports Commission chair and Philippine SEA Games chef de mission.
The number of Philippine team members to the subcontinental multisports event slated from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 will hover between 1,250 and 1,500, including coaches and other staff. The contingent is easily the biggest the country will assemble for the biennial competition of 11 nations.
A beat check of some NSAs shows that billiards selected 20 players by number to compete for 10 gold medals in the sport.
Billiards chief Robert Mananquil said among the shoo-ins are previous SEA Games gold medalists Rubilen Amit and Chezka Centeno.
Athletics head Philip Ella Juico said “our entries by number is about 190 but the entries by name will be known on Sept. 2.”
A total of 48 gold medals are at stake in the medal-rich track and field events.
In 2017, Juico’s NSA sent a team of 30 that came home with 5 gold medals.
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