Coaches support Juico as PATAFA head

By Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 10 2014 03:54 PM | Updated as of Jul 10 2014 11:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines - After hearing his vision and program for the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association moving forward, coaches from the UAAP and NCAA yesterday threw their support to incumbent chairman Philip Ella Juico and unanimously endorsed him as the next athletics chief.

The mentors from the collegiate ranks, who play significant roles in producing future national mainstays and champions, met with Juico to hear out his plans for the association and concurred with the steps he intends to initiate in an effort to win an Olympic medal in the future.

“All of us are willing to work with those who want to work with us with all sincerity and no other agenda other than to improve track and field,” Juico told the UAAP and NCAA coaches during the meeting, which was also attended by incumbent president Go Teng Kok and athletics godfather Jim Lafferty.

Juico looms as the top choice to succeed Go as Patafa chief when the athletics body holds its election on July 25. Go himself has endorsed Juico, a former Philippine Sports Commission chairman who has been helping Patafa affairs for the last three years, for the post he’ll be relinquishing after 24 years. A representative from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAFs) is expected to come over to witness the election.

During the stakeholders’ meeting, Juico reported a new program conceived in a May 13 planning session with Lafferty, veteran coaches Claro Pellosis and Romeo Sotto, and members of the coaching staff.

The plan of action includes pursuing more corporate sponsorship in order to finance a more “holistic training” for national tracksters and prioritizing certain events.

“We’re going to go heavy on corporate sponsorship and try to be less dependent on government assistance because we’d like to be as autonomous as possible. But we can only attract support from the private sector if we can offer a solid program and that’s what we’re starting to do,” Juico said.

Lafferty, an executive for a tobacco company and a coach himself, is the first of Patafa’s corporate sponsors. He currently supports the training of Olympian long jumper Marestela Torres and revealed that he is in the process of signing up three or four more.

“We’ll also focus on certain events, especially where there are already talents and we’ll focus on these people. However, if there are those (from other events) who come up along the way, we’ll also support them,” Juico said.

Addressing the concerns of the college coaches, Juico promised to come up with better selection process for both athletes and coaches in the national team, with clearly defined criteria to be set and strictly observed.

While moving forward in the elite level, Juico promised continued support for stakeholders in the grassroots.

“We’ll have plans and strategies to enable Patafa to win at least one Olympic medal over a period of time, most likely 2020, that’s our focus on the elite level. On the grassroots level, we’ll assist the stakeholders, which include the schools, universities and colleges and help them develop potential (champion) athletes,” he said.