Quest for elusive gold continues – Garcia

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Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Ricardo “Richie” Garcia is from Bacolod City. He was appointed by President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd to the top post of the government’s sports body on July 19, 2010. An avid golfer, the 67-year-old alumni of De La Salle University was first appointed as PSC commissioner in 1999 by former President Joseph Estrada and later reappointed as commissioner by President Gloria Arroyo in 2008. He is the ninth chairman of the PSC.

The Manila Times: What is being done to erring and non-performing national sports associations?

Richie Garcia: The state of NSA performance, whether it is technical management or governance, is the responsibility of the Philippine Olympic Committee. By virtue of the law that created the Philippine Sports Commission (RA 6847), it is not within its mandate to settle or ease erring NSAs. Problems and issues internal to these associations, whether this is administrative, management or technical in nature have to be directly settled by the POC.

TMT: How do you eradicate corruption in Philippine Sports?

RG: Firstly, the PSC endeavors to make all its internal affairs transparent to the public. All financial transactions, management decisions and financial assistance are posted in the PSC website. Secondly, by instituting a rationalized funding support system, and instituting policies that require financial assistance to be promptly and properly liquidated, indiscriminate and irrational funding releases are drastically curbed. Lastly, the strict compliance to the Procurement Law in all PSC related transactions has considerably prevented corruption and dishonest operations and dealings.

TMT: Is there a clear-cut plan on how to win the country’s first Olympic gold medal?

RG: Yes, the quest for an Olympic gold is still one of the ultimate agenda of Philippine sports. It may not happen soon enough, for it may take a while to produce one, the PSC shall continue to institute programs for the discovery of athletes from the grassroots and harness these talents to a world-class stature that will enable them to qualify and compete in Olympic Games. All efforts now and in the succeeding years by PSC and its partners (POC, LGUs, DepEd) are inspired by the elusive Olympic gold. The more solid the talent identification and training programs are in the grounds and the more scientific the elite training is at the top level, the nearer we get to the Olympic gold.

TMT: Are we developing the right sports suited for Filipino physique?

RG: While we continue to provide assistance to all sports, the PSC has instituted a more rationalized system to give priority to certain sports (Without sacrificing the chances for the rest). The Focus Sports Program where 10 sports are defined as top priorities considers the Filipino’s physical characteristics as a major factor. These are sports that do not require height as an advantage, and sports that are by weight category. As an example, wrestling and weightlifting are sports that the Filipino weight and size are at an advantage. Wushu is a sport wherein we have produced the junior world champion. It has a dance component called Taolu in which the Filipino grace is an asset. Boxing and taekwondo are traditional sports where Filipinos excel in the ASEAN and Asian level and are by weight category. Archery is dominated by Asian countries like South Korea and China, winning 8 of the 12 medals during the last Olympics. Bowling and billiards are sports where we have produced several world champions. Athletics and swimming are mandatory events in the Olympics and are the cornerstone of multi-sports games.

TMT: Do we have a long term and concrete road map on how to improve Philippine sports?

RG: Philippine sports is a continuing development agenda — both in terms of ensuring the participation to sports and play of the greatest number of Filipinos; and of producing world-class Filipino athletes who can make the country proud. The PSC is on track to these strategic directions, acronym AGE – access to sports by the greatest number of Filipinos, good governance in sports and excellence in sports performance

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