Cojuangco: Filipinos need proper nutrition to excel

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 24 2012 11:02 AM | Updated as of Jul 25 2012 12:40 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Not until the Filipino athletes are given the proper nutrition, one that suits the needs for their respective sports, will they be able to compete to their full potential.

"I still maintain that our athletes could have been better prepared," said Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco who is bound for the London Olympics.

The POC chief will join the 11 Filipino athletes in London on Thursday together with POC chairman Monico Puentevella and secretary-general Steve Hontiveros.

Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia will join the group of Filipino officials travelling to London for the Games scheduled from July 27 to Aug. 12.

Cojuangco is not giving up on the Filipino athletes in London, saying he’s hoping for the best, and that he wouldn’t be surprised if they manage to bring home a medal.

But he said with proper strength and conditioning, and proper nutrition, Filipino athletes will only be more prepared for international competitions.

Carlos Sumulong, a Filipino physical fitness expert now based in the United States, was in the country recently and together with his wife conducted a seminar for Filipino athletes, coaches and trainers.

They stressed the importance of nutrition and conditioning, and finding the best fighting weight for those competing in subjective and combat sports like boxing, taekwondo or judo.

"Athletes are often confused between strength and conditioning, and bodybuilding," said Sumulong.

For the ordinary athlete, building muscles mean building on strength, but the Filipino expert said it’s not always true, saying with added muscles, an athlete sometimes gives up a lot in strength and agility.

"The seminar we conducted two weeks ago showed very well what we've been lacking when it comes to nutrition and conditioning," said Cojuangco.

He cited the case of Sumulong, his nephew, who was a wrestler during his younger days. He said Sumulong, as he got older in college, excelled in a lighter weight category.

"How he managed to do that really amazed me," said Cojuangco. "So we called him in to share his secret to our athletes on how he got stronger as he got lighter and older."

"If we can bring them back before the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games, our athletes will have a better chance. Only then we can say we are truly competitive with the world," said Cojuangco.

"If we can implement the proper training program, I don't care whom we oppose because we will have a better chance," he added.

The POC president said he's not sure if Filipino athletes are measured with their body fat, which should be seven percent or lower for one to be truly competitive.

"I don't know if we measure their body fat but it's something that's very important considering that we always compete in sports where there are weights involved.

"With proper weight control out athletes will only get better," he added.