Editorial: Ignoring the reality

The recently held Asian Games, as expected, showed how problematic the country’s sports programs have become.

Of the four gold medals, which were all won by women athletes, not one of them got much attention from the key sports organizations of the country, including the government. It was fortunate, in the case of Hidilyn Diaz, as she was able to win a silver medal in the 2016 Olympics that her sport got a much-needed boost.

Diaz even claimed after she won her silver medal that she nearly quit the sport due to lack of help, but she reconsidered her decision which paved the way for her to earn the victory.

Other events, like skateboarding where Cebu pride Margielyn Didal got her gold medal, never had support from sports agencies so much so that when she was interviewed, Didal said what she only wanted was that traffic enforcers would not arrest her and the others who have come to love the sport.

It was fortunate for Didal as she was able to secure some private sponsors that have been backing her up in her international quests.

Other gold medalists for the country were golfer Yuka Saso and teammates Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye for the team event.

In basketball, which became the focus of so much attention because of the controversy that surrounded it before the sports powers-that-be decided to send a team, the country could only salvage fifth place, while the country’s women’s volleyball team landed in the eighth place, bowing twice to host Indonesia in the preliminary and classification matches.

Of course, the country’s sports leaders would now pat themselves on their backs because the country got four gold medals compared with only one four years ago.

But have they done their homework?

Time and again, calls have been made for the country to focus on sports and establish programs that will make its athletes in more competitive positions. Time and again, these calls have been rejected as those pushing for the so-called more popular sports events always have their way by using the pretext that these sports can attract the crowds and sponsors.

So when will country learn the lesson that its neighbors learned long time ago?

Posted in Opinion