MANILA -- The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Board on Tuesday said it is going all-in on its grassroots sports development programs, while seeking full involvement in its support to national athletes competing in major international events.
"It is our goal to touch every single province in the country, and provide a comprehensive program for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao," said PSC Chairman Richard Bachmann, gracing the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex on Tuesday.
Bachmann said the agency will stage three regional competitions for the Philippine National Games in the fourth quarter of 2023, with the national finals set in the first quarter of 2024. Meanwhile, Batang Pinoy will stage its regional legs in the third quarter of 2024 and national championships in 2025.
"We have to make sure our grassroots sports programs go in the right way. Our goal is to eliminate the gap of grassroots to the elite, and that is through connecting them to the national sports associations," said the sports agency chief.
"It is building a career path for all these athletes. If we did this in Cebu, if we can replicate it all over the Philippines, we cannot only have one Hidilyn [Diaz], one [Elreen] Ando, we can have probably fifteen of them with the right program," said Commissioner Edward Hayco, who was joined by fellow Commissioners Bong Coo and Fritz Gaston.
The PSC officials also shared their experiences and evaluation of Team Philippines' recent stint at the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia, highlighting the necessary adjustments the PSC needs to make.
"I don't want the PSC to just be the funding arm to our elite level athletes. We really have to get involved in working with the Philippine Olympic Committee, see common ground and understand each sport and its NSAs. We should take full responsibility in caring for our athletes," said Bachmann.
The chairman said the PSC will form a task-force with the POC in building a comprehensive criteria in support of our national athletes competing in the 19th Asian Games in China in September this year.