UNITED Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial candidate and San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada encouraged the country’s top sports leaders to prioritize the training of athletes who can produce the elusive gold medal in the Olympics by sending them to various international competitions including the coming Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
The biennial sports meet is scheduled December 11 to 22, 2013 but the Philippine Team is facing a dilemma if it will send a full delegation that will participate in all events or field in athletes with a strong chance of winning.
If that’s the case, Ejercito Estrada said yesterday that the leadership of both the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) should consider focusing on sending a ‘lean but mean’ delegation to the SEA Games.
“We should focus on training athletes that can win the gold in the SEA Games,” said Ejercito Estrada, a senatorial bet in the May 13 elections.
“With that, the athletes will be able to gain experience, as he or she prepares for the next goal and that’s making it to the Olympics and hopefully win our first gold medal. This should be the focus of our sports leaders,” added Ejercito Estrada.
There will be 33 events in the Myanmar SEA Games, but of these sports disciplines, the host nation removed from the list Olympic sports, including water polo, badminton, gymnastics, table tennis, and lawn tennis – all of which Filipino athletes are contenders. Myanmar has reportedly added non-traditional events such as vovinam, tarungderajat, kempo, and chin lone.
In the previous SEA Games in Indonesia two years ago, the Philippine Team placed sixth overall, ahead of Myanmar. The POC, headed by its president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, and the PSC, chaired by Ritchie Garcia, are targeting to improve that placing – possibly third or fourth.
The young legislator, who recently urged Filipinos to support the Gilas Pilipinas II in the FIBA-Asia Championship which the country will host on August 1 to 11, said athletes’ training should focus on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“I truly believe that Filipino athletes are capable of winning in the Olympics. But they need proper training, preparation, exposure, and of course, the solid backing of the government,” said the son of former President Joseph Estrada.
The 43-year-old Ejercito Estrada, a member of the Youth and Sports Committee in the House of Representatives, said that sports leaders should also solidify its grassroots program, and continue develop world class athletes.
“If our grassroots program is solid, we’ll surely develop athletes who can make us proud,” he said.
Aside from the SEA Games this year, the Philippines will also participate in next year’s Asian Games in Inchon, South Korea, as well as the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, both considered as training ground of athletes for the Olympics.
February 27, 2013