Chiz urges all-out recruitment of young athletes

(The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero remains firm in his belief Filipino athletes in some contact sports – particularly the boxers – have the biggest chance at winning medals in the future Olympics, but said the young athletes’ outlook should change with the reinvigorated programs undertaken by both the public and private sectors.

Escudero, one of the few members of Congress who advocates better sports programs and athletes’ welfare, said recruitment of young athletes from the grassroots to elite sports should open them opportunities like an assurance of  scholarships and maybe future jobs, so they can concentrate more on training and on winning in international tournaments.

“We noticed that athletes recruited    are given the chance to improve their station through sports,”said  Escudero.

“Sports, in many Third World countries like the Philippines, have become a ticket out of poverty for a very few athletes, mostly those who have won in important international meets, like the Olympics and the world championships,” Escudero said. “Yet the ratio between these few winners and the many who have tried will not balance, however hard we try.”

Escudero said government should study the possibility of hiking the funds being received by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) so it could channel more of its budget for the athletes’ academic scholarship and welfare.

The PSC, he said, could partner with various colleges and universities which could provide the young athletes with opportunities to finish secondary education and earn college degrees.

“I believe it can be done in the very near future,” Escudero said. “We are facing yet another chance at winning at least a medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. And then in 2020 in Tokyo. But we should see new names to rise from the Palarong Pambansa, the Batang Pinoy and the various National Open competitions. The flow of new, younger talents could only happen if we could give these kids a better deal for their future.”

Escudero looked at the Filipino boxers’ history and noted that the country’s best – two silvers – were won by pugilists Mansueto Velasco and Anthony Villanueva.

Escudero also noted that incentives rained on Velasco after his silver medal feat in 1996 in Atlanta, but Villanueva died without much despite receiving government incentives and bonuses for his feat in 1964 in Tokyo.

“We now have a set of young boxers looking at Onyok and his experience. And it would not be long, let us hope, that one or a couple of them would better what Velasco and Villanueva have earned. But we should also do our part and inspire our young athletes to do so.”

ACIRC ATHLETES BATANG PINOY ESCUDERO JANEIRO OLYMPICS MANSUETO VELASCO AND ANTHONY VILLANUEVA NATIONAL OPEN PALARONG PAMBANSA PHILIPPINE SPORTS COMMISSION THIRD WORLD VELASCO AND VILLANUEVA
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