Friday, August 22, 2008

Better luck 2012

It seems like our 15-man Philippine Team has already been depleted. In diving, we still have our last man standing, Ryan Rexel Fabriga, who will compete in the 10-meter diving event tonight, at 7 pm. But judging from the tough copetition, he would be very lucky if he exceeds the qualifying round.

Contrary to general belief, Filipinos are not atheltically challenged. In fact, we have the best athletes in the world. However, most of the sports we are good at are not included in our Olympics, like:

1. Boxing - Even if there is an olympic event in boxing, our amateur boxers train to become not as Olympic gold medalists, but to be WBA, WBC, WBF, WBO, IBA, IBO, or IBF champions. This means that we can not rely on them to bring us medals because they are professional boxers and unlike basketball, olympic boxing cannot be fielded by pros like Manny Pacquiao.

2. Bowling - it would be nice to see CJ Suarez at the olympics, but sad to say, bowling is not yet a considered sport in the olympics.

3. Chess - It would be a site to see our very own Mark Paragua compete against Kasparov in the Olympics, but unfortunately, Chess is not an olympic sport.

4. Billiards - If only Bata Reyes, Django Bustamante, Dennis Orcollo, Ronnnie Alcano or Alex Pagulayan could don the Philippine jersey at the olympics for the billiards event, we could have gotten our first golds. Unfortunately also, there is no billiards in the Olympics.

5. Wushu - Unfortunately, unlike Taekwondo, Judo, and Greco Roman Wrestling, Wushu is not yet a widely-played martial art, thus our Asian games gold medalists cannot maximize their talents in the olympics.

6. Golf - Jennifer Rosales could have a good chance in the gold medal if only this sport is an olympic event.

7. Sepak Takraw - We have the best kickers in sepak takraw, parly because we are one of the originators of the sport. But sadly, there is no such sport in the olympics.

I agree with PSC officials that if we want to get a medal in the next few olympics, there should be drastic measures to be implemented. One of the most drastic measure is the sport that we choose to play and fund. We should encourage major sports that suit the Filipino physique and talent. We have to first admit that we cannot stand a chance in one of our most favorite sports, Basketball. This is unless we find at least 4 players as tall as Yao Ming and as agile as LeBron James. But until we do, we should stop dreaming the American dream and focus on the sports that will bring more medal hopes. After all, Basketball churns out only one medal. We should start focusing on sports that do not require much height, nor physique, like:

1. Badminton - Since it is a hip sport in the Philippines lately, we could start looking for potential olympic medalists and start training them NOW.

2. Diving - Sheila Mae Perez and Ryan Rexel Fabriga should not stop training. It is a good start for the program. We have the Trace Aquatics Center in Laguna as a venue for young divers to train and practice. This does not require much height. It just requires focus, determination and grace. We are a fortunate country to be bound by water, and so there is a much greater chance that there are kids out there already trying their somersaults in one of the rocks or cliffs in beaches.

3. Shooting - Eric Ang could be just one of the many potential shooters in the Philippines. We have a lot of gun clubs in the country and they themselves can promote trap shooting as a viable sport. Again, this does not require much height, only focus and concentration, not to mention speed to pull the trigger. Also, with a high rate of hypertension in the country, pulling the trigger will not be much of an issue. :)

4. Archery - Fans of Legolas, unite! Archery, just like shooting, does not require much height or might. Our beloved aborigines are expert hunters so we should relive these moments and start training on hitting those targets.

5. Football - Unlike basketball, football does not require much strength, nor height. This is more of a competition for speed, agility, stamina, and heart. That is the main reaosn why this is more famous than Basketball. With the proven stamina and determination of Filipinos, if coupled with enough funding and hype, we shall accomplish to have our first football team in the Olympics. I think the olympics prohibits professional football players so we could have a fighting chance with the amateurs.

6. Taekwondo, Boxing, Judo - Since these sports are classified by weight, we could develop players within our desired weight class and excel. There are a lot of boxing hopefuls out there. It is just a matter of training them to become olympians first before going for the big league of pros.

7. Weightlifting - It is about time that we show that Filipinos are not just metrosexuals who simply love to trim their abs in the gym, but we are also serious lifters. If we could already match Arnold Schwarzeneger's biceps, maybe we could also train to match world standards in lifting.

8. BMX Cycling - Calling all BMX bikers out there! It's about time we take this "hobby" more seriously than just hanging out in mall parking lots. It's your chance to be an olympiad, now that BMX is already part of the olympic roster of events.

9. Rowing - As I mentioned earlier, we a fortunate enough to be bound by water. There will be no excuse for rowers not to train because they have all the venues they need. And like the other sports above, rowing does not require much height.

10. Equestrian - I think we should continue the legacy left by Mikee Cojuangco and Toni Leviste in the Asian games. If our athletes start young in equestrian, they could be good olympic standouts. We have the best horses in the world, owned by the richest people of the country. I'm sure they would lend their steeds for the sake of olympic glory.

Drastic, indeed. But if you take a closer look, a lot has already been started in these sports. All it takes is a little persuasion from the people that matter so that they could grasp the idea, and later on help in the funding of these sports towards a bigger and brighter olympics in the future. I await the day that I will get to cheer my countrymen for a gold medal event, be it on TV or live in the venue. But until then, our first olympic gold medal will continue to be an elusive dream.

No comments :