“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” –Heywood Broun
NEW YORK CITY — There seems to be no real challenges and rivalries among the Philippines’ young athletes today.
Their lead in the official medal tally as of this writing shows that National Capital Region (NCR) athletes are poised to again wrap up the 2017 Palarong Pambansa in San Jose, Antique.
As host province, athletes from the Western Visayas Regional Athletics Association (WVRAA) are supposed to dominate the annual multi-sport event involving student-athletes from the Philippines’ 18 regions.
It’s not about which sports regional associations finished first, second or last. It’s about the disparity in the medals won. It’s about which athletes broke most of the national records.
And it appeared to be an all-NCR show in as far as the number of gold, silver, and bronze medals that have been, so far, collected, is concerned.
This is not a good sign if we aim to use the event as recruitment hub for future members of the RP Team in the SEA Games, Asian Games, and the World Olympic Games.
Submission of talents for the national team to be financed by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and governed by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) should be democratic or should come from cross-section of the country.
Athletic forces must be shared by regions nationwide through equal opportunities in building of more facilities and grassroots training and development programs.
As of April 26, 2017, or two days before the culmination of the week-long competitions with a motto, “Converges Youth Power; builds sustainable future,” NCR has amassed 50 golds, 27 silvers, and 20 bronzes as against the 14-7-11 (G-S-B) collections of would-be second placer WVRAA.
Negros Island Region (NIRAA), with 10-11-11 (G-S-B) was breathing neck and neck with Cordillera Administrative Region (CARAA), with 10-8-7 (G-S-B).
Most of NCR’s gold medal haul came in swimming, where most tankers trained in world-class or Olympic-sized pools in Metro Manila.
Records were mostly shattered in the pools.
The Ilonggos were still deadly in track and field, but CARAA runners proved to be the track oval head turners in the games that started in 1948 as the Bureau of Public Schools-Interscholastic Athletics Association Games or BPISAA before it became a Palarong Pambansa.
It looked like WVRAA and other regions needed to modify and reinvigorate their grassroots programs in swimming and should not focus heavily on track and field and other ball games.
Article XIV, Section 19 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution mandates the holding of the Palarong Pambansa with the following objectives:
-Physical Education and sports as an integral part of the Basic Education curriculum for holistic development of the youth;
-Inculcate the spirit of discipline, teamwork, excellence, fair play, solidarity, sportsmanship, and other values inherent in sports;
-Promote and achieve peace by means of sports;
-Widen the base for talent identification, selection, recruitment, training and exposure of elementary pupils and secondary students to serve as a feeder to the National Sports Association (NSA) for international competitions; and
-Provide a database for a valid and universal basis to further improve the school sports development programs.