Prioritize athletes so they don't get pirated, LGUs told
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Local government officials should also prioritize their athletes to prevent the latter from being pirated by other provinces.
Filipina long-jump queen Elma Muros Posadas made this call as many athletes end up representing provinces other than theirs, in such an important athletic event as the Palarong Pambansa.
"The main reason is the lack of support that athletes get from their local government units," Posadas, who was here for the launching of the Department of Education's Sport Heroes, told reporters on Saturday, April 27.
She said she was also speaking from experience as she was among athletes who ended up representing another province in competitions because of lack of support from officials of her original province.
Posadas was born in Magdiwang, Romblon, and had represented the province early in her career as a heptathlon.
But Posadas shone when then-Rizal governor Isidro Rodriguez gave her scholarship to represent the province in the Southern Tagalog Regional Athletics Association (STRAA) sporting meet at 14.
She competed in track and field and the long jump and brought medals for Rizal.
Nurturing local athletes
From her stint at the STRAA, Posadas competed in the Southeast Asian Games and won 15 gold medals. At the age of 16 in 1983, she had already been an accomplished athlete by winning 8 gold medals in the SEA Games.
Posadas then competed at the long-jump event during the 1984 and 1996 Olympics and several other Olympic events between 1984 and 1996 – earning her the title "The Long-Jump Queen of Southeast Asia."
Posadas, who holds several records in the 400-meter hurdle, the heptathlon, the 4x400 meter relay and others, eventually became the Sportsman of the Year in 1993 and 1995.
"By nurturing their local athletes, provinces would eventually reap honors," she said.
Posadas, who had retired in 2001, said that athletes are a province's asset and spending for their training would also help them dominate competitions.
"Athletes would not prosper without the support of local officials," she added.
Posadas said athletics is also one way of leading individuals out of vices that would destroy their future.
"That is why I am thankful that President Duterte made athletics one of his priorities," she added.
She said the holding of the annual Palarong Pambansa, with the full support of the Philippine Sports Commission, is one evidence the government is fully supporting athletics.
Mansueto Onyok Velasco, who brought the country gold medals in the 48 kilogram boxing category during the 1994 Asian Games and a silver at the 1996 Summer Olympics, agreed with Posadas that training athletes should also be made priority by LGUs.
"Sports is an excellent activity to instill discipline among the youth," said Velasco, a native of Bago City.
He also lauded the conduct of the annual Palarong Pambansa as a way to measure one athlete's skills and competitiveness.
"But it doesn't mean that when you lose, you are already not good. It could mean that your training was not enough so you have to train more," Velasco added.
The Palarong Pambansa, featuring over 15,000 athletes and officials from across the country, formally opened at the University of the Philippines-Mindanao Sports Complex here. – Rappler.com
Click here to read more stories on Palarong Pambansa 2018