MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco said the country’s failure to win any medal in the recent London Olympics is just a reflection of the government support to the sports program.
Cojuangco said sports critics are barking up the wrong tree by blaming the POC and even the Philippine Sports Commission for the continuing failure of the Filipino athlete to shine in the Olympics.
The Philippines has not won any medal in the Olympics for the last 16 years. It was boxer Mansueto Velasco who last won an Olympic medal, a shining silver in 1996 in Atlanta.
Cojuangco yesterday said without government support, there’s nothing much to expect.
“In conclusion, how much are we willing to spend for sports?” the 77-year-old POC president asked amid strong criticisms from government officials led by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
“How much are we willing to pay the coaches? Our Filipino coaches go abroad because they are paid more. And our athletes get P6,000, P8,000 and P10,000 a month.
“My counterpart from Thailand said they pay their athletes twice as much as we do. It’s good that some of our athletes are members of the Armed Forces because they earn more,” said Cojuangco.
Trillanes opened fire at Cojuangco the other day, saying he “expects more dismal performances from our athletes unless our NSAs elect a new POC president and replace Mr. Cojuangco.”
Cojuangco will shoot for a third term as POC president when the elections are held on Nov. 30. Word is out that POC first vice-president Manny Lopez will run against Cojuangco.
“Mr. Trillanes should focus on his legislative responsibilities and cease meddling in the affairs of the POC, which is a private and non-government organization,” said the uncle of President Aquino.
Richie Garcia, chairman of the PSC, said it takes time to develop champion athletes, adding that he’s been at the helm of the government sports agency for only two years.
“We cannot produce superman,” he said.
Garcia said there’s a program in place but it doesn’t mean it can produce “instant medals” in the Olympics. He said part of the problem is how to discover and identify potential medalists.
“I’m sure meron, hindi lang natin makita. Maybe we can hold a contest like ‘Talentadong Pinoy.’ Then they will come out and be counted,” said Garcia.
Cojuangco said unless the government provides the proper budget for sports, government officials should not expect for more.
“’Wag tayo umasa. ‘Wag tayo mag-complain,” said the POC president.