The ongoing FIBA Asia tilt in Manila has become very interesting after China was trounced by Iran, 70-51, and the Philippines thrashed Japan, 90-71.
In the global stage, Japan and China are superpowers with enough weapons and logistics to take part in another world war.
But the military and economic mights of Japan and China were hardly felt in their searing losses in the ongoing FIBA tourney. Iran and the Philippines, on the other hand, are light years away from becoming superpowers, and Iran’s economy is even suffering because of sanctions.
This only goes to show that sports is perhaps the greatest equalizer on earth, even if sports is obviously used by many nations to project their supremacy.
Just look at the 2008 Beijing Olympics—China left no stone unturned in the opening and closing ceremonies of the games. By that year, China was on its way to becoming the second largest economy in the world.
When the dust settled, China topped the gold medal standings with 51, although the United States got the most medals with 110. It was obvious that China wanted to show the world, “we have arrived.”
The 1936 Munich Olympics also saw Adolf Hitler use the games to show to the world that Germany has recovered from the ashes of World War 1. At the end of the Munich Olympics, Germany topped the gold medal tally with 33, and took the most medals at 89. Germany, however, fielded the biggest delegation with 348 while world superpowers US and United Kingdom fielded 310 and 207, respectively. By fielding such a large delegation, Germany assured its chances of snaring the most number of medals, and succeeded.
But how far will a country go to use the Olympics to showcase its might, especially if it is the host nation? Surprisingly during the 2012 London Olympics, the UK got a total of 65 medals, which is a far cry from the 104 of the US and China’s 88.
So it seems that China has fallen into an obsession to use sports to project its superiority, and stories of athletes being subjected to the training from childhood under the guidance and sponsorship of the state is one proof of that.
Since China is an economic and military powerhouse, most of their athletes have this thinking that they represent a superpower and will definitely not give up without a good fight, if only for national pride.
But what can we expect from athletes whose nation is currently suffering from economic sanctions like Iran? Answer: Expect them to fight like wounded tigers to inspire their nation that despite the difficulties and problems at home, they can still rise to the occasion in the sports arena.
And this is where sports is also great besides being a great equalizer—it gives a nation the chance to show to the whole world that their athletes are among their best citizens.
If Iran wins the current FIBA Asia tilt, that would be a big booster to their country’s national pride, since I have said earlier, their economy is in bad shape.
If Smart Gilas ends up second or third, that could help save the country’s image which has been suffering from news of scandals involving government officials and alleged scammers.
The Philippines should also pay homage to its professional boxers who have won world championships because none of them have been labeled as cheaters or rule breakers. Wish our Congressmen were like them……
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Congratulations to Pamela Capuyan for being elected the president of the Parents Council Executive Board (for 2013-2014) of the School of Saint Anthony in Quezon City. I wish you the best on your second term, and God bless the rest of the board!