A lawmaker finds as disturbing the statement of the Philippine Aquatic Sports Association (PASA) head Mark Joseph admitting that he was not surprised by the dismal performance of two Filipino divers in the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore, as he called a quick diagnostic of the of the country’s disappointing 131-medal haul in the meet.
Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate committee on games, amusement and sports, said that while the Philippines has improved a notch from its previous ranking, placing sixth is not a reason to be happy.
Angara lamented the country’s low points in the competition especially swimming where the Philippines failed to win a single gold and where the poor showing of Filipino divers became viral on social media.
But what is devastating is hearing the head PASA saying that he was not surprised by the poor performance of the divers.
Angara was referring to recent media interview of the PASA head wherein he said that the poor performance of lmerson Fabriga and John David Pahoyo in Singapore is already expected considering that they are first timers in that level of competition.
“I am not surprised, I am not surprised. The amount of money that is spent in our sports is nothing compared to our kalaban [rivals]. It’s that simple,” Joseph said in a recent television interview.
Angara said that he recognize that sports development in the country has been neglected for the past years given the national shortage of public sports centers.
In fact he said the Philippines has less than 100 public swimming pools all over the country or about one pool for every one million Filipinos.
Philippine Swimming League (PSL) president Susan Papa for her part said that it is not the divers that should be blamed for but the leadership in the PASA, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) who are not doing anything in the development of Filipino athletes.
“We have been saying that Philippine swimming is sinking and it is because of the way Mark Joseph Is handling it there is no grassroots development al program,” she told The Manila Times in the interview.
According to Papa, PASA is the one recommending who they want to send to the competition while the POC is the one that will be sending them, but the POC don’t have a screening process.
Papa also said that too much politics in Philippine sports particularly in swimming is the reason why the sport is suffering noting that swimmers, who are not members of the Philippine Swimming Inc. headed by Joseph, are not being entertained by the POC and PSC.
She added that the PSC, which supposed to have the overall say on the sport programs of the government, also doesn’t know its functions and it is just following the dictates of the POC and the National Sports Associations (NSA).
Meanwhile, Angara has called on his for the passage of five bills establishing sports academies and training centers in Misamis Occidental, Davao del Norte, Siargao Island, Cavite and Cebu, which the Senate subsequently approved last week.
“I believe establishing sports academies like these will jumpstart grassroots sports development all over the country. With these facilities, many young athletes could adequately prepare for a genuine career in sports, and hone their skills for local and international competitions,” he said.
Angara is also batting for the establishment of a Philippine Amateur Sports Training Center so that the 800 athletes and 300 coaches who carry our flag will have a well equipped home and training facilities at par with international standards.
“We are hoping that sports development will be included in PNoy’s last state of the nation address. Any move to boost sports spending should not just be aimed at winning international competitions but in promoting wellness among our people,” he said.