STRESSING that full government and private sector support is key to the success of our athletes in international competitions, presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has urged local sports officials and stakeholders to free the sector from politics and other issues that could drag and affect the athletes’ training.
“Athletes should be focused on their task and that is to train and develop their skills,” Marcos said. “They need to rest and recover well from training and competition, eat the right kind of food.”
Marcos furthered: “The only way to win championships and the only way to win tournaments is to do those things…and to be very professional about [their craft].”
The former senator vowed to fully support the country’s sports programs once he and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, are elected to the government’s top two positions in May.
Marcos also commended the current crop of Filipino athletes, stressing that it’s about time to give them the country’s undivided backing and commitment.
“It’s time to give our athletes anew the compassion and support they need—for competing for flag and country,” he said. “To our Filipino athletes, me and Inday Sara are behind you all the way.”
Marcos was reacting to the recent controversy rocking Philippine sports after the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) recommended to remove Olympic pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena from the national team.
Obiena, currently the third best pole vaulter in the world, was accused by Patafa of misappropriating funds, even as he has refuted the allegations by presenting necessary documents and having his coach Vitaly Petrov testified on his behalf.
The athlete, however, found an ally with the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) which declared Patafa president Philip Ella Juico persona non grata, for allegedly harassing Obiena instead of supporting him.
Obviously disappointed with the way local sports is being managed by its officials, Marcos who is running under the banner of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas said it’s about time to free Filipino athletes from politics.
“If we want to move forward, we need to fix the system. There are times when sports is tainted by politics,” Marcos said.
The standard bearer of the PFP said that the government’s backing has a significant influence in an athlete’s success, emphasizing that they should be allowed to focus on their training and that they should be shown the country’s full support.
Marcos told a television interview recently that there are officials who politicize sports to the detriment of the athletes.
In his official Facebook account, he also recalled how Project: Gintong Alay was implemented successfully, resulting in local athletes reaping honors in international meets.
The Gintong Alay was a national sports program of the Philippine government launched under the administration of Marcos’s father, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, who was also the forerunner of the Philippine Sports Commission.
“It’s a known fact that my father was a sportsman and a fan, that’s why he pushed for the creation of various programs that supported the needs of our athletes, and one of them is this Project: Gintong Alay,” he said on his Facebook account.