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So wasted

WRECKORDER - FGS Gujilde (The Freeman) - December 10, 2020 - 12:00am

Just like some Filipino athletes who conquered the world, super grandmaster Wesley So had to rely on pure talent he was born with. He cannot afford a decent but expensive training. He yelped for help, got some but eventually neglected, disrespected and denied of what the law guaranteed, including seven-digit prize money after he struck gold in the 2012 Summer Universiade.

Accordingly, the law granting incentives to athletes who excel globally does not cover the global tournament. There may be legal reasons, even good reasons. But there are real reasons. While many things are shared by sports and politics, they just don’t mix. If they do, it’s the athlete’s woe. If indeed the law does not cover, was there no other way to reward the kid? He just won the world, but the country he brought to it punished him instead.

Disillusioned, Wesley almost quit the sport he was born to play for what he thought was his own country where, despite his immaculate brilliance, he was treated dirt poor, to echo his own rue. But he reconsidered. Known for his tactical style of play to sacrifice even the queen to better protect the king, he had to leave his queen motherland to start anew.

Why he who started well had to start over is revolting, especially where the chess prodigy neither declined nor went out of the line. In 2006, he became youngest Filipino international master at 12 years and 10 months and youngest Philippine delegate to the Turin Chess Olympiad.

He became ninth youngest grandmaster at 14 years, one month and 28 days. By 2008, he became youngest player to break the 2600 Elo rating barrier. All these when he was youngest, playing the future peak of others his age or older. He didn’t start with potential, he was to begin with exponential. Becoming world best is a foregone conclusion, given such credentials. The future was here. No less than Eugene Torre, first Filipino and Asian grandmaster, saw it coming from his tower.

Beating world number one Magnus Carlsen in the recent First World Fischer Random Chess championship is not surprising. Early in life he formed a habit to pull an upset. In the 2009 World Cup, he sent one grandmaster packing then shocked the defending champion into asking what just happened.  

Such huge talent liberated itself from a hostile host. If he is not appreciated in his horror country, he sought and found a more nurturing foster home country, the United States where sportsmen and women are treated and rewarded way better than sports officials. Just as our best minds are forced to leave for greener pasture and fair treatment. Brain drain, discourtesy of the brain dead.

The protector of the king is now the king of the world. A rare find the country luckily found but mindlessly lost to the star spangled banner. Yet we, including those irresponsible for his change of allegiance proudly claim the world champ is Filipino. Yeah, right. The resilient, ill-treated Filipino.

If we keep on losing rare gems, forget about world excellence. Focus on parlor games where we don’t need a sports program, just a short program only the loud host would understand. Enjoy the party that celebrates mediocrity.

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