Its not the army…

Last December 18th, Philippine Daily Inquirer came up with an article which shouts Major Athletics revamp: veterans on chop block.  The article talks about the plans of PATAFA President, Go Teng Kok, to revive Philippine Athletics by asking the veteran athletes, included in the Philippine Team, to retire so that their slots can be given  to young and upcoming athletes.

I don’t subscribed to this point of view.

By doing this, we are just prolonging the agony.  The process will be repeated again.  A handful of stars will dominate Philippine athletics for the next decade.  Breaking records and  winning SEA Games medals along the way.   Instead of changing the way we do things and have the chance to do a genuine grass root mass development program, engaging thousands of athletes even beyond their college playing days, thereby improving the performance level of the sports, and be more competitive in the Asian or even global level.

Sounds easier said than done, but now is the best time to think outside of the box, start looking outside our own playing ground and ask around for best practices of the other countries.  We will not lose anything by asking and studying what they are doing.

Why limit the sports’ development by maintaining limited  slots for the national team, where in fact you can open the gates to everybody?  Why do we have to ask the government to shoulder the development of sports?

My unsolicited advise  to Senor Go, form a Steering Committee Team that will propose the changes that the PATAFA needs in order to be competitive not just in the SEA level, but in the global level.  We have to aim high to achieve high.  The members of this Team should be currently unattached to the PATAFA in order for them to give an objective assessment of the current state of the sports, and the changes that should be implemented.

Mr Go, this may be the  lasting Legacy that may put your name as legend of Philippine Sports.

It’s not the army, it’s the process that picks and nurtures the army.

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17 Responses to Its not the army…

  1. hurdler49 says:

    Slots for the national team should be limited, in my opinion, precisely because it’s supposed to include the country’s elite. But there’s the rub. Talented collegiate athletes are hard-pressed to take their game to the next level, due to the lack of post-University athletics organizations. There’s a glaring gap that needs to be bridged.

    And I hope to the high heavens that our track & field vets aren’t dropped like “old rags,” as Coach Mick pointed out.

    Great inputs, by the way. Keep it up! More power to Philippine athletics.

    • pirieandrew says:

      Why supposed to be limited apart from the excuse of funds, but when some athletes decide to self fund doesnt that solve that issue? Alot of other south east asian nations are fielding athletes in every event so how does the Philippines have a chance on the medal table if they cant do the same.

      But correct in a sense where we should only be sending athletes who can atleast win a bronze medal at sea games.

      • hurdler49 says:

        Limited = finite. You can’t put every single, talented athlete into the national pool and fund them all. There’s an optimal level for the amount of budget that we have.

      • pirieandrew says:

        No i dont mean put every single talented athlete in he pool based on coaches opinion. I mean just put athletes in the team who make the standard or atleast ranked high enough in south east asia to obtain at least a bronze. In some events we cant fill them as they lack a strong domestic pool to choose from.

  2. Track Fan says:

    Pirie I like your 5 suggestions. Very interesting!

  3. Track Fan says:

    Hello, I am just what I call myself, a track fan. Just a viewer. Not at all related to sports however I am probably so obsessed w T&F just as most pinoys are obsessed w basketball. In fact I just don’t want to make comments at all and I would have preferred to be a spectator…however since I am hardly reading good performances I just make inputs how to probably do it. Anyway….I jope more guys can make more inputs. Puede naman tagalog ang itype basta maganda ang suhestiyon.

    You hit it right……..patafa blog is not really interesting to read probably bec of its format. No offense meant.

  4. Track Fan says:

    You know I’ve always been wishing that PATAFA can set-up satellite or outreach training centers like one in Visayas and Mindanao, maybe a PATAFA Bacolod and PATAFA Davao. Where the money will come from, maybe part from PSC and others,corporate maybe? I don’t know. Sometimes I think PATAFA heads should start thinking that PATAFA is a business entity…maybe they can put small booths in malls were t shirts can be sold (like pidro shirt or manny pacquiao’s booth at robinson’s ermita) They can find corporate sponsor that is local in that area.

    Indeed it is quite disheartening to drop vets who served the country well in the past. But the athletes shouldn’t see it that way. Athletes do come and go, I must admit that the transition process is difficult (I think anywhere it is, not just in T&F but generally in life it is scary).They can not be athletes forever but they can become mentors to young athletes. What they can do is perhaps get endorsements from PATAFA so they can be PE teachers or athletic mentors in schools or universities. I hope while they were athletes they at some point worked on getting IAAF certification to become coaches. GTK didn’t drop these athletes like used rags. I am sure the reason why he had to talk with the athletes one by one is bec it is rather heartbreaking to release them.

    There were many athletes who gave honors to the country whom I have not heard of for years but seem to have made a good transition…I got surprised that L Balauitan is the mentor of Kat Santos and is coaching… Coach Punelas, is she still w UST?; She’s the running mate of Diay. The toughest ordeal probably belonged to Nancy Navalta who never actually made it to PATAFA and yet perservered in that horrifying time of her life to graduate in criminology and is coaching young athletes in a national school in Pangasinan.

    • pirieandrew says:

      For the record the veterans havent been dropped like used rags. As from the article it sounds like GTK has given them the option/or at most suggested not forced them to retire. But also there is an aire of frustration as until they do the article states there is no budget available for the younger athletes.

      Your right in the fact that the PATAFA is totally reliant on limiting slots due to allowances from the PSC. I believe Roselyn’s agreement with the governor of Laguna is a good move and an attempt at self sufficiency from the PATAFA being though it was more a means of survival as the Azkals literally have taken over the Rizal Stadium. But this clearly demonstrates to me when put under the pump they are capable of finding help elsewhere outside the PSC and they should try and endevour to do this a bit more.

      I see we are starting to think on the same track again. I was wondering Track Fan who are you? or do you wish to remain anonymous you seem to be quite knowledgable in regards to track and field do you have a coaching or athletic background yourself? Yes it would be a good idea if the vets be used to help promote athletics and serve as coaches or admin in there home provinces.

      Edna Punelas-Carpio is not coaching at UST anymore, i dont think she coaches these days. Nancy Navalta is still coaching out in Pangsinan. Lerma, Emerson, Nixon Mas, Mario Castro and Roselyn Hamero are former national athletes on the coaching staff. With Lerma and Castro being gold medalists at sea games.

  5. track fan says:


    No offense meant to PATAFA blog, but you have to admit that yours is the most popular blog…..seriously. I also agree with Misael Perez’ suggestion. I wouldn’t be voicing my opinion anywhere else except in your blog…I feel it is free, unattached and unbiased. I think your blog is my home.

  6. Misael perez says:

    GTK is asking his vets to reitre to make room for the younger athletes. This makes sense. New blood has to be nurtured and developed. I agree with his move to retain Torres and Herrera, they deserve to be retained.

    Yet, to ask vets like Fererra, Villarito, and Fresnido to leave with seeming disgrace may not be fair at all. These athletes together with Buenavista have won many honors for the country. I hope GTK doesn’t drop them like used rags.

    In a conversation with former national team coach Dari de Rosas, the opinion we shared was that GTK should also ask for his coaches to submitt courtesy resignations. Why let the vets take the fall for for all these?

    By asking both veteran athletes and coaches to tender voluntary retirement or resignations will he have a freer hand at revamping his organization. This way he will truly know who is loyal to the cause and his leadership.

    • @Misael: Courtesy resignation of the coaches? That’s the honorable thing to do, specially if after a couple of SEA Games, you as a coach failed to deliver a single medal….but thats wishful thinking in the PH….

  7. Track Fan says:

    Maybe all those who have ideas may place their inputs here so GTK will ponder on the proposals. As for me, I will probably go the way of GTK. It is a tough decision to let his loyal athletes go but I think he encountered the same problems 10yrs ago and he asked the vets to retire.
    At some point, there has to be an institution ( gov’t, a private group knowledgable in athletics) or a governing body handling elite athletes and this is the role of PATAFA (PSC the grassroots and further training for elite athletes abroad). I am still having difficulty espousing the singapore or US style T&F w track clubs and their athletes competing for slots for the big games all due to the meager money a reg filipino family has. In the 80’s when Gintong Alay became the ideal sports model of our ASEAN neighbors, the method was adopted by Thailand and became successful; and indeed PATAFA’a role is to take care of these small group of elite athletes, a small reward to these athletes who have proven to be the best of the best locally (now they can have better nutrition than the usual kang kong, galunggong and rice if they will be given additional financial support). It is a sad fact that for as long as we are a third world country and w a gov’t not prioritising the centerpiece of the Olympics wc is ‘Athletics’, we will continue to have a small group of athletes dominating the local athletics scene til the next decade. It is a quick fix, but this is actually how our sports is judged, by the way our elite athletes are performing in big meets. Right?
    But I want to hear everyone’s opinions and suggestions and creative ideas. My eyes were opened to athletics at the time when communist countries were nurturing their athletes for propaganda and Gintong Alay then was the efficient sports model for Phls. Lydia de Vega, one of my favorite athletes 🙂 (the other being Elma and Del Prado) and my hero said early this year that we need only a small core of athletes, I believe her….small group but incredible :). But maybe it is about time I hear a new set-up.
    Please post comments and suggestions everyone!

    • @TrackFan: everyone is entitled to their ideas. How sure are we though that GTK is reading this blog? Also, PATAFA has their own blog, maybe that’s the best site to post suggestions.

    • pirieandrew says:

      Just because thats the way it is, doesnt mean thats the way it should always be. As you know the Gintong Alay was based somewhat on the Australian Insistute of Sport. However in the Australian sports model, the Institute of Sport is only one component with each state having its own Academy of sport, and a very strong club based system being established. Club athletics does a great job of retaining post collegiate athletes in the sport.

      Training a small group of athletes alone in a national team situation with no strong domestic system in place and no higher level coaching accrediation for the regional coaches will continue to deliver limited results at sea games level, and even more limited medal chances at higher level meets.

      In order to create a stronger group of athletes to select for international meets it is vital that stronger domestic competition is provided this can be done through

      1) allowing coaches in regional areas and general public access to IAAF accreditation

      2) possible input from foreign coaches to help boost the coaching knowledge in the Philippines.

      3) Minimize the number of national meets to National Games, University Games and Palarong Pambansa (National High School Games)

      4) An elite grand prix meet as proposed by GTK before to allow the best 8 athletes in the country to compete against each other.

      5) Introduction of a national club system to increase participation and retention of atheltes in the sport.

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