Meet athletes’ needs first before expecting medals


PHILIPPINE Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William “Butch” Ramirez said Tuesday that elite athletes’ needs must be met first before expecting them to win medals in big sporting events such as the Olympics.

He issued the statement during a press conference at the PSC conference room in Manila when asked to comment on the performance of the 13 Filipino athletes who competed in the just-concluded Rio Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Ramirez said the country’s recent stint in Rio Olympics is a lesson learned, saying that had weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz was monitored by a sports psychologist, sports physiologist, sports nutritionist and strength and conditioning expert, she could have ended up with a gold medal.

“Before we expect medals, we provide athletes their basic needs, magandang higaan, malinisna water, maayos na pagkain, excellent foreign exposure, excellent training and excellent coach. Only then we could expect medals. It’s a beautiful to dream or to hope for medals in the Olympics but we need to give the athletes the basic requirements. If we cannot provide it to them, why bring them (to the Olympics). In spite of not providing them (these), they still qualified to the Olympics,” Ramirez said.

He added that with Rio Olympics over, there is no use to resort to blame shifting. “It is not fair for Olympians going there, tapos banatan mo.”

Thus, he challenged national sports associations (NSAs), particularly those catering to Olympic sports, to prepare their program for foreign training and foreign exposure as the PSC will double their budget.

With the looming creation of the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) that will cater to all these needs of elite athletes, Ramirez said athletes’ training will be monitored by the national training director who will also be in charge of overseeing different regional training centers that will focus on grassroots sports development on the countryside.

The PSC chief also said they will be firm and stricter on their policies, saying, “No program, no budget. No liquidation, no budget.”

He added that gone will be the days that funding problems will be the concern of the national athletes, saying that the PSC has money to finance their training and exposure abroad.

Ramirez said they are focused in currently cleaning their own home first inside PSC before they will settle matters with their partners like the NSAs.

One initiative PSC made is putting up a complaints’ desk to aid stakeholders in airing their concerns.

A series of consultative meetings will also be held next month en-route to the creation of PSI.

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