Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner Celia Kiram is hoping that the creation of the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) will improve the performance of Filipino combat athletes.
Kiram who was the former president of the Philippine Pencak Silat Association and the widow of the late Sultan of Sulu Jamalil Kiram, laments that the majority of local combat athletes lack basic support from the government like proper food and nutritional supplements.
“We wanted to be at par with other countries in the Southeast Asian region and we wanted to be above everybody but how can we achieve that if we fail to provide the proper nutrition to our athletes?” Kiram said in an interview.
Kiram believes that if the government will only provide the needs of the athletes then there would be no reason for them not to perform well in international tournaments.
“Only few are capable of getting good diet. Most of them endured eating sardines and instant noodles just to be in the line-up, since they are sending their monthly allowances to their families in the provinces. With this PSI, we are hoping to eradicate all this and all of their efforts to fight or win medals will be achieved,” she said.
With the PSI in place, Kiram sees a bright forecast for Manila’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games in 2019.
“We hope to see the change come 2019 when we host the Southeast Asian Games in Manila. We are hoping and praying for that. With the money and support now, there are no reasons that we will not be at par with our neighboring countries,” she said.
But PSI National Training Director Marc Velasco said that any benefit from the PSI would manifest within two Olympic cycles or in 2024.
“But for me, if I am going to plan for something, I would not expect it to bear fruit in few months. If you’re a smart person, you don’t bank on short term, you bank on long term goals,” Velasco told The Times in a separate interview.
The PSI will be formally launched on January 16 at the Multi-Purpose Arena of the PhilSports Complex in Pasig City.