In a few months, our people will be trooping to the polls to pick a new President. It is an exciting time, with the country geared to face the future with a new leadership, a new – or at the very least – slightly new direction, with fresh ideas, and a fresh new mandate.
Sadly, in our sporting world, we are about to see the pathetic return of non-performers as they continue to hostage Philippine Sports. This year, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) holds an election for a fresh set of leaders. But it is clear that the election has been rigged so that no one not named Peping Cojuangco can get the chance for the plum post.
Peping has signified his intention to run again for the post as President of the POC. And he and his cohorts have been able to cow all opposition, paving the way to yet another clear mandate. There are roughly 40 registered National Sports Associations (NSAs) eligible to vote, and most are only too willing to lick Peping’s butt, lest he vent his ire on them. Getting his disfavor would mean the loss of valuable support for their athletes; the loss of invaluable opportunities for foreign competitions; or worse, outright dismemberment as regular NSAs.
Cases in point: the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation lost its National Sports Association (NSA) status in 2011. The PDBF had been consistently making the country proud with world-record performances at that time. it was one of the country’s best-performing NSA at that time. No matter, Peping found a way to strip it of its NSA status. Ditto with the Philippine Volleyball Federation last year, replaced by a Peping-backed Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas, after Peping found a convenient excuse to revoke its NSA recognition. Both Federations had opposed Peping’s candidacy in 2010, when he won by the slimmest of margins. Without the 2 crucial opposition votes in the election, Peping’s evil empire will continue to reign over Philippine Sports.
Among our athletes, very few are willing to go against the mighty Peping. They know that tangling up with him would deny them a chance at the national team, plus the modest stipends and the opportunities for competitions here or abroad.
This holds true for many of our national-level sportswriters. Very few are willing to stand up against Peping’s Mafia, lest they lose their credentials to travel and cover sports spectacles such as the upcoming Olympics in Brazil. Yet, they privately grumble over the shameful plight of our athletes. What is frustrating is that many of our sportsmen and sports columnists openly talk about how it is that the present leadership is more concerned with perpetuating themselves in power rather than in genuinely developing our top athletes.
Peping’s dismal record speaks for itself. He took over as POC President in 2005. He was lucky in his first year as the country played host to the SEA Games. Here is how the Philippines has fared since he took over the reins of the POC:
2005 SEA Games – 113 Gold, 84 Silvers, 94 Bronze. Rank: 1st (Host)
2007 SEA Games – 41 Gold, 91 Silver, 96 Bronze. Rank: 6th
2009 SEA Games – 38 Gold, 35 Silver, 51 Bronze. Rank: 5th
2011 SEA Games – 36 Gold, 56 Silver, 77 Bronze. Rank: 6th
2013 SEA Games – 29 Gold, 34 Silver, 37 Bronze. Rank: 7th
2015 SEA Games – 29 Gold, 36 Silver, 66 Bronze. Rank: 6th
2006 Asian Games – 4 Gold, 6 Silver, 9 Bronze. Rank: 18th
2010 Asian Games – 3 Gold, 4 Silver, 9 Bronze. Rank: 17th
2014 Asian Games – 1 Gold, 3 Silver, 11 Bronze. Rank: 22nd
2008 Olympics – 0 medals
2012 Olympics – 0 medals
Peping’s shining moment came in 2005, when the country hosted the SEA Games. But then, he can’t even lay full claim to that as he had barely took over as POC chief. Other than that, his only crowning achievement was to have his daughter, Mikee, appointed as a permanent International Olympic Committee (IOC) member in 2013.
In the 2014 Asian Games, the country’s lone gold was contributed by California-based Daniel Caluag in BMX cycling. Again, in the 2015 SEA Games, our showcase wins in Athletics were provided by Fil-ams Eric Cray in the Men’s 100m and 400m runs; Kayla Richardson in the women’s 100m sprints; and Caleb Stuart in the men’s hammer throw. It seems that mining for gold talents abroad has become the convenient approach, as opposed to developing our homegrown talents in the country.
Many NSAs have been underachieving miserably. Yet Peping will continue to cover up their mediocre performances, and they in turn are expected to vote him back as POC Chief. It is a tragic, vicious cycle, where “I scratch your back, you scratch mine.”
Some soundbites from our sports leaders during the Peping era:
- After the Philippines’ worst-ever 7th place finish at the SEA Games in 2013: “We were a big success! By sending only 210 athletes and bagging 134 medals, we actually had a 63.8% success rate, the highest ratio we’ve ever had of medals to number of delegates!” Duh?!?!! What fine logic we have here!!! Is that really something we should be proud of? Then we should have sent only 1 or 2 athletes with sure medal finishes. We’d have a 100% success rate, plus lesser expenses too. And from there, we could happily conclude what a great sports program we have at home! WTF??!!???? Is this the kind of attitude we want to instill in our youth? (Pls read: Wrong Parameter of Success)
- After the Philippines’ 6th place finish at the recent SEA Games in 2015 : “One lesson we learned was that we should concentrate on medal-rich events such as aquatics, athletics, shooting, taekwando, wushu, etc, to score high in the medal race.” OMG! This comment came out long before the 2nd World War. This isn’t a lesson learned. This is History! (Pls read: Assessing the Philippine Campaign in the 28th SEA Games in Singapore)
- Still on the Philippines’ 6th place SEA Games debacle in 2015: “National athletes should be housed in a training center where everything is controlled and strictly monitored.” Another historical footnote. That blueprint has been there long before, with the Gintong Alay program that brought success for our best athletes through the high altitude training in Baguio City.
- More on the country’s lackluster performance in Singapore: “Coaches should be paid more in order for them to stay.” Shucks. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Stop debating on that already and do it!!! We need good coaches; topnotch training, quality training equipment and ideal training grounds; and the opportunity to experience higher level competitions here and abroad.
It is apparent that the present POC leadership is no longer the driving force capable of leading Philippine Sports to higher levels. For they have simply ran out of new and innovative ideas, and have stagnated to become mere hindrances with jurassic ideas, antiquated attitudes and senior moments. It is time to make a change.
We hope that true, well-intentioned sportsmen will finally rise up in righteous indignation. It is time for new leaders with dynamic ideas and a fresh drive to step up. For the good of Philippine Sports, for the good of our youth, for the good of the country. Strike down the evil empire. Let the Force awaken to bring in a new hope, a new beginning for Philippine Sports. May the Force be with us all.
(Photos courtesy of dzrhnews.com, thenational.ae, bworldonline.com, philstar.com, gmanetwork.com, asianjournal.com, rojan88.wordpress.com, sportsinquirer.net, abs-cbnnews.com)
- Click to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)